Potential earnings lost in an accident

My son’s case is being handled by a solicitor appointed by my insurance company. He injured his wrist on his right hand In a motorcycle accident and now cannot use any sort of hand tool or power tool. He was due to start an apprenticeship as an aircraft engineer with a big company and was given some government funding. Now his case is coming to an end and we have been told to expect about £40,000. The government funding was worth about £12,000.

My son has lost his apprenticeship and is now working in a call centre. He will not be able to do any skilled manual work in the future and has lost a good career. This offer seems awfully low to me and his dad, but every time we challenge this we get told by the solicitor dealing with the case that she is the “person with the experience” and if we don’t follow her recommendations we can pay her £50,000 legal bill ourselves. She is arrogant, nasty and very defensive.

Answer

Your gut feeling is right. The person dealing with your son’s case is a solicitor but she does not have a clue how to value a higher end case. She has failed to consider lost earnings at all; she has taken the view that the call centre wages were greater than the apprenticeship wages. She has entirely neglected to work out what your son’s earning potential would have been and what it is now, which is a very simple calculation. She has valued the injury alone and wants you to settle on that basis.

Your son’s future earnings are pretty simple to calculate – any moderately skilled personal injury lawyer can do it. In his current work, the formula shows his potential earnings to be £266,230. If he’d followed through his apprenticeship, he’d be looking at £818,961.

The starting point is the difference between the two. His future loss of earnings amounts to around £500,000. His injury (which affects both the movement and the strength of the wrist, which still has some useful movement) is worth about £28,000 and your son has already lost about £10,000 in wages, and his bike and kit was worth around £2000. So what your aggressive but incompetent representative has done is added together all the easy bits (injury, past lost earnings and bike kit) and come up with £40,000 and missed massive future claims, the most screaming being future income.

There are other elements such as future DIY, as your son cannot even put a shelf up, and these claims alone can add up to tens of thousands of pounds. The lost government grant to your son is also recoverable as it would have come directly to him. Had it gone to his employers, it would not be. Get rid of this over-promoted bluffer. She knows nothing apart from how to bully clients sold to her by your insurers, who now own her firm.

Andrew Dalton

RiDE Magazine April 2014

Posted by Andrew Prendergast. Posted on: March 27, 2014 at 12:00 am

Andrew has been riding motorcycles since he was 10 years old and currently rides a GSX1400 as his daily commuter whether it is sunny or snowing. In addition, he is currently restoring an old Honda CB750 K1. Andrew practices across all areas of motorcycle law, with his practice involving both civil claims and motoring defence work.