Often one of the most contentious and hard fought issues in a personal injuries action that of loss of earnings. The basic principle is that if someone is injured, and they cannot work as a result they should be compensated for their loss of income.
Assuming the medical evidence supports a claim for loss of earnings, and the loss has happened in the past (i.e. the claimant has resumed his or her duties), an accountant will generally be called on to help calculate loss of income. This can be easy to calculate (e.g. in the case of PAYE worker who had to take unpaid leave), to very nuanced and difficult (e.g. in the case of a self employed person).
If the loss is likely to continue into the future because the injury is ongoing then the services of an actuary will generally be called on to help quantify the future loss. The Courts are understandably slow to accept a person cannot work into the future, and a claimant would be expected to explore the possibility of retraining, getting lighter duties and availing of assistive technologies.
A word of warning, however. We recently found that PIAB calculated the loss of earnings of a claimant by reference to their income in the years before and after the accident. This may be a sound basis of calculation if the claimant was in the same job on similar pay for the relevant years. In this case however, the claimant had changed to a much more lucrative role shortly before being injured. The Injuries Board methodology did not give credit for this, and it was completely flawed as a result. It is just another reason why one cannot accept the PIAB carrion call that they should be considered the equivalent of the Courts.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have a query in relation to a personal injuries action, and in this context please note that we will never and cannot by law charge a percentage of any award.