Court Entitled To Rely on Civil Jury Instructions For Present Value Calculations
When awarding damages for future losses BC Courts have an obligation to use appropriate present value multipliers in arriving at the lump sum awarded. Normally this is achieved by relying on expert evidence in personal injury cases. Given the BC Government’s recent restrictions on expert evidence Justices will likely have increasingly fewer such reports to assist them.
To this end an interesting footnote appeared at the end of a recent personal injury judgment. In the recent case (MacGregor v. Bergen) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2013 collision. The crash left the plaintiff with residual partial disability. Damages were awarded for past and future losses. The Court noted that no expert evidence was led by either party addressing preset value calculations but this was not a problem as the Court could simply rely on the multipliers provided in BC’s Civil Jury Instructions. In explaining why this was appropriate Mr. Justice Branch provided the following thoughts in a footnote to his reasons for judgement:
Neither party provided expert testimony as to the appropriate present value multipliers. However, I find that I have an obligation to account for the present value of the future losses pursuant to s. 56 of the Law and Equity Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 253. Multipliers are calculated using the designated 1.5% for the present value of future income loss and 2% for any other future losses. The amounts presented for female police officers and female university graduates were determined by inflating the 2015 data provided by Mr. Turnbull to 2018 dollars (resulting in figures of $99,300 versus $67,700), calculating the difference of $31,600, and then applying a present value multiplier of 26.23, assuming a retirement age of 65 (37 years hence). I find that I am entitled to make use of the multipliers provided at Appendix E of the Civil Jury Instructions for this purpose. I note that the court has relied on the Civil Jury Instructions for this purpose in other cases where expert evidence was not made available: Smith v. Fremlin, 2013 BCSC 800 at para. 38; Erickson v. Bowie, 2007 BCSC 1465 at para. 51, footnote 3; Hrnic v. Bero Investments Ltd., 2018 BCSC 1880 at para. 57; Barnes v. Richardson, 2008 BCSC 1349, aff’d 2010 BCCA 116; Duifhuis v. Bloom, 2013 BCSC 1180 at para. 62; Harris v. Ladner Centre Holdings Ltd., 2008 BCSC 1735 at para. 70.