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Past wage loss and returning to work

Why would I go back to work if I am still in pain? Doesn’t that make me look like I’m okay? Shouldn’t I stay home to prove that I am hurt and cannot work?  Will I be entitled to past wage loss?

In the July 17, 2015 decision in Bellaisac v. Mara, 2015 BCSC 1247 (http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/15/12/2015BCSC1247.htm), Mr. Justice Funt refers to the plaintiff’s post-crash return to part-time work as a demolition worker to support an income loss award. Rather than viewing this as proof that the plaintiff could work in heavy labour post-crash, he found that the plaintiff’s struggle to continue working showed that he was hard-working and reliable. He concluded that absent the collision, the plaintiff would have worked full time; once again showing that the court will generally not penalize stoicism:

  1. Past Wage Loss

[74]         At the time of the collision, the plaintiff was working for approximately $19 per hour. The evidence reflected a range. The Court has used $19 per hour, which includes benefits such as vacation pay to calculate past wage loss.

[75]         As noted, the plaintiff was viewed as hardworking and reliable. During the period from the date of collision to trial, the evidence established that there was a healthy demand for demolition work and demolition workers.

[76]         The fact that the plaintiff has worked since the collision, despite enduring pain and the risk of occupational burnout (as Dr. Gouws describes), satisfies the Court that the plaintiff, but for the collision, would have worked full time.

[77]         The Court will, in making its calculations, assume 50 full time weeks of work per year and a wage of $19 per hour for 2009 and 2010, $20 per hour for 2011 and 2012, and $21 per hour for 2013 and 2014. The increases reflect the fact that the plaintiff was viewed favourably by his employers and co-workers. In order to be conservative the Court has not included potential overtime pay. The Court has also not included potential promotions as a result of his poor English skills.

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