If you have been seriously injured in a major car accident, you may be unable to work. The impact on your ability to work can be particularly devastating if you are self-employed or own your own business when the accident occurs. As a result of your injuries, you may have to turn down work, lose out on business opportunities, or have to hire subcontractors. The best personal injury lawyers in Vancouver can attest to the fact that when it comes to your ICBC claim, it can be considerably more difficult to calculate and prove your claim for past wage loss and loss of future earnings if you are self-employed. Good business records are essential to establishing wage loss claims in personal injury lawsuits.
Evidentiary differences for past and future wage loss claims
Wage loss compensation – which often comprises the most significant portion of an ICBC claim, particularly if you have been seriously injured – is assessed under two different categories:
- Past income loss, which covers all loss of earnings from the date of the accident to the date of trial or settlement.
- Future loss of earning capacity, which is determined by comparing the likely future of your working life if the accident had not happened against your likely future working life after the accident.
Past and future income loss are dealt with separately because of the evidentiary differences. Future income loss often requires projections as to your likely employment paths, but for past income loss the employment income is known at the time of trial or settlement.
ICBC wage loss claims are more complex for the self-employed
If you are an employee, the calculations are often fairly straightforward. For example, past income loss is a simple calculation: if you missed two months of work, and you would have been paid $4,000/month, your past income loss is $8,000. When you are self-employed or own your own business, the calculations will be more complicated, if, for example:
- Your income fluctuated prior to the accident, whether year over year or seasonally within a given year.
- You claim expenses to reduce your taxable income or show net losses on your income tax return.
- You have different streams of income (e.g., business income as well as employment income; dividends; commission).
- Your business is carried on as a partnership or a corporation.
- You lost contracts, sales, or business opportunities as a result of your accident injuries.
- You had to hire workers or subcontractors after the accident or pay your existing employees more to perform work you would have otherwise done.
- Your records are incomplete or non-existent (e.g., missing invoices or expense receipts, tax returns not filed).
If any of the above apply to you, contact our team of best personal injury lawyers in Vancouver for advice on what you need to establish your past and future income loss claim.
Why good records are important to your wage loss claim
If your evidence falls short of the claim that you make for income loss, past and prospective, your claim under that head of damage may be rejected by ICBC or the courts, or you may receive only a fraction of what you actually lost. The best personal injury lawyers in Vancouver can advise you on the records you need to keep to meet the requisite standard to establish that you suffered past and future income loss. We can help you gather reliable evidence to substantiate each aspect of your wage loss claim, and we are experienced at corroborating the more challenging aspects of self-employed wage loss claims (for example, substantiating that you lost out on a major contract because of the accident injuries or that you had to turn down work due to the accident injuries).
Get legal advice from the best personal injury lawyers
Vancouver lawyers at Simpson, Thomas & Associates are skilled at handling complex personal injury claims. Our lawyers have extensive experience representing clients who are self-employed (including independent contractors, consultants, and business owners) as well as clients who earn commission or other forms of income. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation with one of the best personal injury lawyers (Vancouver, Surrey, Delta, and Burnaby office appointments are available).