Court finds plaintiff's decision to take early retirement not a result of accident, saying claim "not made out"

In reasons for judgment released today, the court in Barr v. Accurate Transmission and Driveline, 2016 BCSC 2405, declined to award damages to a plaintiff for loss of income as a result of the plaintiff having to take early retirement.  In Barr, the plaintiff suffered significant injuries after being struck while walking in a crosswalk.  The plaintiff claimed her injuries caused her to take early retirement at age 60, and sued for loss of income as a result.  In dismissing that aspect of the claim, Mr. Justice Williams wrote:

[27]         Originally, the plaintiff's intention had been to work until her husband turned 65 and retired. That would have been in the autumn of 2017, a time when she would have been 63 years old.

[28]         Instead, she retired in October 2014. She testified that she did so because of the effects of the motor vehicle accident and the way those impacted on her ability to do her job. But for the effects of the motor vehicle accident, she says, she would have remained at her work until the autumn of 2017.

[31]         The defendants challenge that aspect of her claim. They contend that the real reason the plaintiff chose to retire was that she was tired of the job, that the issues that had caused her to go on stress leave had worn her down, and that she did not want to be in that workplace any longer. And so she opted to retire when she did.

[54]         In the result, on quite careful reflection, I am unable to conclude that Ms. Barr has satisfied the burden of proving that the effects of the motor vehicle accident caused her to have to quit her job. In order for her to succeed in this aspect of her claim, I must be persuaded that the loss she claims (the loss of her job as an OR nurse) was caused by the negligence of the defendants. I find that, on a fair assessment of the evidence bearing on this issue, that proof is not made out.

The full text of the decision can be found here: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/sc/16/24/2016BCSC2432.htm