Loss Of Income After Age 65 For Accident Victims
One of the largest battle-grounds in a lawsuit for personal injury after an accident is the area of “income loss”. Establishing what a accident victims would have made if not for the accident related injuries. For years now, there has been a general acceptance in the personal injury domain that people retire at age 65 and don’t earn additional income. It is becoming increasingly clear that this idea has not kept pace with the new reality.
Canadians simply are not counting on that anymore and are not expecting to retire at age 65 anymore. It is becoming increasingly common to see people working after age 65. In a recent case that I had, this issue was front and centre. The Judge in that case remarked on the fact that work post age 65 was becoming increasingly common. As part of that case, we relied upon a number of studies that have documented the shifting attitude of Canadians.
One of those studies was a March 2011 study through Sunlife Financial, which noted that most Canadians now expect to retire at age 68. It also noted that for those people earning less than $50,000 per year, the average expected retirement age is 70 years old.
A 2012 study through Sunlife shows that only 30% of Canadians expect to be fully retired by age 66. More than half (55%) expect to still be working and have an expected retirement age of 71.
A further study noted that most Canadians expect to work after their formal retirement.
Some of the other factors that we referenced to support our client’s case was the fact that his income had been considerably lower in the past, his savings were very low, and he had been the sole income earner for a family with 4 kids. Our argument was that he simply could not have retired at age 65 and enjoyed any kind of a similar lifestyle to what he was accustomed. Also, there were questions about the size of his pension and his entitlement to benefits if he did not work past age 65.
When analyzing injury cases on behalf of accident victims it is very important to consider the specific circumstances of the client in order to get a clear picture of their losses. While the accident benefits system in Ontario significantly curtails income replacement at age 65 for car accident victims, there is no similar limitation on the tort lawsuit system. That means that it is entirely possible to recover income losses that you would have otherwise earned after age 65 through a personal injury lawsuit.
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