Loss of Earnings in a Personal Injury* Claim

If a party is injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another, and they are out of employment for short or long period of time, they will have a concern about lost income during the period of absence from work.

The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 does provide rights to employees regarding annual leave and public holiday pay, but if an employee is out of work due to an injury that does not resolve itself quickly which is commonplace, then the question arises regarding what income protection they have during the period of work absence.

If one is an employee, then they should review their employment contract to ascertain what is the sick pay policy in the contract, if any. There may not be one.

If there is no such payment provision in your contract, then is there a sick pay policy in your workplace perhaps ?.

An employee can then consider if they have an income protection policy in place or if there is a health insurance policy in place under which they are covered.

If none of the above arise, then they should include in any personal injury* claim initiated, a claim for the loss of earnings arising from the negligence.

What is the period of absence and what is the income loss will have to be assessed.

Payslips can assist with the computation and any relevant revenue documents.

If an injury recovery time is not finite, which many aren’t, and there is an inability to work into the future, or if a person cannot do the same job they did before due to the injury, possibly have to retrain which results in income reduction, then a loss of earnings claim into the future should be considered, and an actuary engaged to conduct this assessment.

It will need to be assessed what was the persons income pre-accident, what is the injury, what is specified in the medical reports, what is their current physical and mental capacity, and can they return to the same capacity they previously occupied in terms of their work.

If, for example, it is unlikely the injured person will have the capacity to fulfill the same previous employment role, which they will have discussed with their doctor, and this person needs to retrain, then it will likely be necessary for the person to have an assessment conducted by a vocational assessor for their case. When an accident happens in a persons life which carries long-term consequences, their life can be turned upside down, and time is needed to take stock and then choose a course of action which is the best way forward for them. A vocational assessor can, once the injured persons symptoms have stabilised, the doctor(s) are clear regarding the prognosis, carry out an assessment in the form of a report, which can assist a court with an understanding of likely employment options available to the person, and employment options the injured person considers they will engage in.


Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute.

Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.

8(b) “In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement”.

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