Products & Services
Court Testimony from Excerpts @ BEC
Excerpt from Crackel v. Miller
 A.J. No. 1160 ABQB 781
The Plaintiff, Gregg Ian Crackel, sues for general and special damages, loss of pre-trial and future earnings, flowing from injuries he received in a motor vehicle accident which occurred in the City of Calgary on October 11, 1999.
SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE
15. Cara Brown
51 The Plaintiff also called Ms. Brown, an economist with experience in labour economics who was qualified to give opinion evidence in this field. Ms. Brown created two reports wherein she estimated the Plaintiff's potential loss of income.
52 In Ms. Brown's original report, dated December 23, 2002, she assessed the potential loss of income for the Plaintiff using two without-incident scenarios. The first without-incident scenario assumes employment as an electronics technician, $54,500 per annum starting April 28, 2003 with no real wage growth. The second without-incident scenario assumes employment as an electronics technician, $54,500 per annum starting April 28, 2003 with real wage growth of 1.76% until the age of 52. From these scenarios, Ms. Brown subtracted amounts calculated from three post-incident scenarios. The post-incident scenarios were based on the following three assumptions: first, average earnings as a self-employed liquor store employee set at $22,500; second, earnings of $12,480 per annum in a position similar to a vehicle jockey, parking lot, or gas station attendant; and lastly, unemployment. The estimates also considered various factors such as contingencies and a real discount rate of 3.5%. The estimates for pre-trial loss amounted to $20,500 in each specific scenario. The amount is identical in all three pre-trial loss scenarios because it is assumed that the Plaintiff would not have returned to work as an electronics technician until the date of trial. The estimates for future loss ranged from $459,000 to $987,500.
55 Ms. Brown testified that the scenario with real wage growth is more reasonable than the scenario without real wage growth given the earnings of persons at his age and his previous employment income with Pason. She also assumed that he would return to work as an electronics technician. Ms. Brown agreed that an inability to work on-call and travel would have a negative effect on the Plaintiff's wage earnings as an electronics technician. She also testified that the most reasonable post-incident scenario, contingent on the marriage relationship, would be the scenario using the average earnings as a self-employed liquor store employee.
56 Regarding post-accident employment, Ms. Brown testified that the amount used for average earnings as a self-employed liquor store employee is based on management fees. She also stated that the amount was based on limited information, as the financial statements for 2001 and 2002 were not available at the time of the report.
57 The statement of income and retained earnings for the liquor store from 2001 showed a management fee of $72,000 which is significantly more than the management fee of $45,000 reported in 2000. In 2002, the management fee increased to $98,000. However, it is difficult to infer the Plaintiff's exact after-incident income without further information as there are many factors to consider. The amount of earnings as a self-employed liquor store employee may have changed if the information from 2001 and 2002 was available.
99 Considering all of the evidence and the authorities cited, in my view, the major responsibility for this accident must rest with the Defendants. The Defendants failed to properly warn any oncoming traffic of the stalled truck. Furthermore, there were no readily available triangles or other safety equipment in the truck that could be used to warn traffic of any hazards, and lastly, there were no safety procedures set out, regarding a broken down truck, in the manual. The Plaintiff is also at fault due to his decision to drive after consuming the beer he had and as a result, failing to attempt to avoid the truck. I find that the liability should be apportioned 25%-75% against the Defendants.
126 The primary evidence in regards to calculating the loss of income was obtained from the testimony of Ms. Brown. In her original report, dated December 23, 2002, she completed a comprehensive and thorough analysis. In this report, she computed an assumed without-incident income based on the Plaintiff's average income over four recent years ($54,500) without, and then with, a factor for real wage growth. She then subtracted three with- incident scenarios, which included average earnings as a self-employed liquor store employee, earnings in a position similar to a car jockey, and unemployment, from the without-incident scenarios. She was also instructed by Counsel to make further calculations based on other assumptions such as a higher electronics technician salary and an early return date to the field of electronics technology, but I find these assumptions to be unsupported by the evidence. [emphasis added]
127 Ms. Brown clearly preferred the scenario of a without-incident income of $54,500 with a factor for real wage growth, less the earnings as a self-employed liquor store employee, $22,500.
128 There was considerable discussion in argument about what the appropriate wage was for an electronics technician in Calgary. The Plaintiff intended to return to the electronics field, but clearly he did not intend to return to the same position he held prior to resigning from Pason as he was not willing to travel. Further, he stated that he only intended to work as an electronics technician until the earnings from the liquor store equaled his salary as an electronics technician. Reviewing the 2001 and 2002 financial statements, it appears that this will occur within a short amount of time. There also was no evidence of any steps taken by the Plaintiff to return to work as an electronics technician by April 1, 2000, even to the extent of making inquiries as to what might be available.
129 I am not satisfied on a balance of probabilities that the Plaintiff would ever have returned to work as an electronics technician; indeed, I am satisfied that he probably would not have. It follows that I accept that the most appropriate scenario is the one preferred by Ms. Brown which leads to a pre-trial loss of income of $20,500, and a future loss of income at $596,000.