ICBC Law

BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog

Yes, Reimbursement of Sick Leave Benefits is a Recognized Damage in BC Injury Litigation

The law in BC has long recognized that a Plaintiff can seek damages to reimburse banked sick leave benefits which are depleted due to an injury caused throught the negligence of others. Despite this litigants occasionally still argue that the law does not allow such recovery as it amounts to ‘double recovery’.  Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, disposing of this defence argument.

In this week’s case (Chingcuangco v. Herback) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2008 collison.  She missed time from work and used up over $7,000 of banked sick time.  In confirming that the Plaintiff can recover this loss Mr. Justice Weatherill provided the following reasons:

[209]     During a portion of the time when the plaintiff was unable to work, she was paid the wages that she otherwise would have received by drawing on her sick leave and vacation benefits.  She seeks damages to reflect the depletion of those benefits.

[210]     The parties have agreed that the value of the plaintiff’s hours missed (sick leave and vacation time used with pay) totals $7,371.09.

[211]     The defendants argue that an award to the plaintiff in this regard will result in double recovery because she did not lose any money – she continued to receive her wages by drawing on her sick leave benefits and vacation time.

[212]     This issue was addressed by this court in Bjarnason v. Parks, 2009 BCSC 48.  In that case, Madam Justice Ballance provided a thorough and helpful analysis:…

[213]     I agree with that analysis and I adopt it in its entirety.  Here, the plaintiff exhausted her accumulated sick leave.  She also used up several of her vacation days.  She has had illnesses unrelated to the accident that have resulted in her being unable to work.  She is likely to have them in the future.  Her plan is to stay and make a career at CRA. 

[214]     I am satisfied that the plaintiff is entitled to be compensated for her lost sick leave and vacation benefits which total $7,371.09.  There will be no deduction for income tax.

I have canvassed this topic before and you can click here to access my archived posts addressing the law of recovery of sick time benefits.

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