PROVING LOSS OF EARNINGS : THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WITNESS STATEMENT: THE QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK

The basic task of proving damages, particularly elements such as loss of earnings and disability in the labour market, are often overlooked in witness statements prepared for trial. 

DRAFTING THE WITNESS STATEMENT TO SUPPORT A CLAIM FOR LOSS OF EARNINGS

This issue was recently dealt with in a blog I did in Civil Litigation Brief  on making sure a witness statement proves your case.

The main case cited McRae -v- Chase International Express Ltd [2003] EWCA Civ 505 is a case where findings in relation to loss of earnings and an award for disability in the labour market were overturned by the Court of Appeal. The claimant failed because there was a basic lack of evidence.

MATTERS TO BE COVERED IN THE CLAIMANT’S OWN STATEMENT

In many cases it is the claimant who is in the best position to give evidence as to their own career; earnings; future plans and the effect of the injuries on their income.  The detail required will vary with the gravity of the case.  The information required for a two week loss of earnings claim is very much different to that needed where the claimant cannot work or their earning capacity is impaired.  In a case of any substance the statement must contain:

(1) Information about the claimant’s educational history and qualifications.

(2) Details of the claimant’s employment history.

(3) Details of the claimant’s earnings.

(4) The claimant’s career plans.

(5) Details of the earnings that the claimant has lost. (Including details of any

incremental increases and promotions that the claimant would have      received).

(6) Details of any jobs the claimant has had since the accident.

(7) Details of any attempt to re-train.

(8) Details of the claimant’s job search.

(9) Information about the effect the injuries have had upon the claimant’s ability to their previous/current work.

(10) Information about how the injuries have affected the claimant’s ability to do other types of work.

(11) How the injuries have affected the claimant’s ability to obtain other types of work.

(12) Evidence as to how vulnerable the claimant’s job is; whether the claimant is likely to lose their job and how the injuries would affect any future job search.

(13) How the injuries have affected the claimant’s ability to work for as long as before, work overtime, shifts and obtain bonuses.

(14) Evidence as to the claimant’s planned retirement age before the accident. Whether the accident and injuries have affected that retirement age and the retirement benefits that the claimant is likely to receive.

(15) Whether the injuries have affected any chance of promotion.

(16) How the injuries have affected the Claimant’s enjoyment of their work.

These basic  questions have to be addressed, and the relevant information put into the witness statement, to have any realistic prospect of establishing a claim for loss of earnings/disability in the labour market.

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