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Future economic loss based on post injury income

This case study demonstrates

  • Post injury income used by Court to assess future economic loss

Background

The claimant was 26-year-old labourer who was injured whilst in the course of his employment on 5 September 2006 when he fell down a manhole into a concrete sewerage pump station. The claimant suffered a fracture to his skull and a haematoma with associated contusions.
Prior to his workplace injury, the claimant had a poor work history, which included large periods of unemployment. The claimant had been employed by ITT Water for a period of two years with a good history and prospects of obtaining an apprenticeship.

The claimant returned to his position of employment with ITT Water in October 2006 but was unable to continue due to ongoing symptoms from his injuries, and ceased employment in December 2007.

The claimant then relocated and obtained alternative employment as a car salesman. However he continued to complain of headaches and memory lapses and felt run down. The claimant was unable to continue in this employment past August 2008. The claimant again found alternative employment that required him to drive long distances.

The claimant reported the effects of driving long distances caused him to become more and more run down and worsened his symptoms. The claimant ceased full time employment around mid 2009.

Judgement

This matter proceeded to trial on 7 September 2010 for assessment of damages only.

Medical assessment of the claimant's impact of his injuries was of varied opinion, from an inability to return to full time work to ongoing significant employment restrictions.

The Judge found that the claimant should be compensated for his injuries and the affect on his earning capacity. The Judge ruled that the income earned by the claimant post injury demonstrated his earning capacity had reduced because of the workplace accident.

The Court found the claimant would face a disadvantage in his future earning capacity and awarded him $240 000.00 for future economic loss.

Other details

Court: Supreme Court Brisbane
Judge: Justice McMurdo