COURT CASES on DIMINISHED EARNING CAPACITY / FUTURE WAGE LOSS
It is important to keep in mind that these cases serve as general principles of law. Each case is decided on its own unique set of facts, and may or may not necessarily apply to your specific situation.
A substantial component of many ICBC injury claims is that of diminished earning capacity, otherwise known as a loss of future earning capacity, or future wage loss. Generally, a court will consider a four pronged approach in dealing with this issue:
- Will the claimant be less capable overall from earning income from all types of employment?
- Will the claimant be less marketable to potential employers?
- Will the claimant have lost the ability to take advantage of all job opportunities which might otherwise have open to him or her?; and,
- Will the claimant be less valuable to himself or herself as a person capable of earning income in a competitive labour market?
It is important to note that a future or hypothetical possibility will be taken into consideration as long as it is not merely speculative, and there exists a real and substantial possibility of it happening. Further, it is not a loss of earnings that is the subject of the compensation, but rather a loss of earning capacity.
It is important to note that such a claim can still be available to you even if you have returned to your pre-accident employment.
It is typically the case that both sides will retain expert economists in an effort to determine an amount for diminished earning capacity, as well as medical experts to determine the long term prognosis of the claimant’s injuries.
The use of competing expert reports was evident in the case of Yick v. Johnson et al.. The Plaintiff was seriously injured as a passenger in a vehicle driven by her husband in an intersection collision. The Plaintiff brought an ICBC claim for damages, and named her husband as a Defendant as well, although it was eventually determined that he was not at fault in any way for the accident. She sought awards under many heads of damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of income, cost of future care, an in-trust claim, and diminished earning capacity. At the time of the accident, she was earning approximately $24,000.00 per year, and was 45 years old. It was clear, based on the medical evidence, that she would never be employable again. The competing expert economists differed on the key issue of how much of a present day deduction there should be for labor market contingencies. The Court eventually preferred the Plaintiff’s expert economist more, and awarded $250,000.00 in diminished earning capacity.
 The evidence before me was that Ms. Yick had worked for all of her adult life. There is no suggestion that she was not an effective bookkeeper. The evidence of her co-workers was that she performed her duties pre-accident efficiently. I also note that before the accident she was in good health and according to Dr. Elliot, Ms. Yick had a reduced mortality risk of 25% pre-accident, as compared to the female population.
 It is the loss of capacity to earn income for which compensation is awarded under this head. In O’Connell, the Court of Appeal confirmed that an award for loss of future housekeeping capacity is payable whether or not the plaintiff would have hired replacement services. It seems to me that the same principle is applicable to a claim for loss of future income earning capacity. The actions of the Johnson Defendants have deprived Ms. Yick of an asset, her capacity to work. I do not think it right to build in assumptions about early retirement and voluntary withdrawals from the labour force in the initial assessment of the value of that asset. As a matter of principle, it seems to me that these factors should be taken into account in assessing the award not by reducing the actuarial calculation of potential income but through an overall adjustment for contingencies. In this regard, I do not agree with the defendants’ submission that it was incumbent on the plaintiff to lead evidence negating these factors.
 In this case, I think that there is no reason to believe that Ms. Yick would not have continued to work to age 65 had she not been injured. There were no age related physical limitations on her occupation. There is no evidence that she would have had family responsibilities that would have prompted her to take early retirement. I think that I can also take into consideration that it is common knowledge that people are working longer given the current return on investments in retirement savings. This factor is demonstrated in the statistics presented by Mr. Szekely showing that between 1998 and 2010 the average retirement age for females increased from less than 60 to 61.4.
 Finally, I note that the income being earned by Ms. Yick pre-accident was relatively modest for a trained bookkeeper. While there was no evidence from either party as to the average income for a person with Ms. Yick’s qualifications, $24,000 per year equates to approximately $12 per hour based on a forty hour work week, indicating that it is a conservative figure.
 In my view the positive and negative contingencies in this case closely balance each other out when applied to the actuarial calculation of Ms. Yick’s potential earnings to age 65. I do think that fairness does require some reduction from the actuarial calculation performed by Mr. Carson. However I consider the economic calculation of Mr. Szekely to be inadequate to compensate Ms. Yick for her total loss of income earning capacity.
 In all of the circumstances I consider that a fair award for loss of future income earning capacity in this case is $250,000, representing an approximate 10% discount from the actuarial calculation to age 65 performed by Mr. Carson.
REAL and SUBSTANTIAL POSSIBILITY of a FUTURE EVENT LEADING to INCOME LOSS
In Perren v. Lalari, the British Columbia Court of Appeal, in allowing an appeal by ICBC’S lawyer with respect to an amount awarded for diminished earning capacity, discussed the test for what the Plaintiff must prove in a claim for diminished earning capacity.
 Having reviewed all of these cases, I conclude that none of them are inconsistent with the basic principles articulated in Athey v. Leonati,  3 S.C.R. 458, and Andrews v. Grand & Toy Alberta Ltd.,  2 S.C.R. 229. These principles are:
1. A future or hypothetical possibility will be taken into consideration as long as it is a real and substantial possibility and not mere speculation [Athey at para. 27], and
2. It is not loss of earnings but, rather, loss of earning capacity for which compensation must be made [Andrews at 251].
 Furthermore, I conclude that there is no conflict between Steward and the earlier judgment in Pallos. As mentioned earlier, Pallos is not authority for the proposition that mere speculation of future loss of earning capacity is sufficient to justify an award for damages for loss of future earning capacity.
 A plaintiff must always prove, as was noted by Donald J.A. in Steward, by Bauman J. in Chang, and by Tysoe J.A. in Romanchych, that there is a real and substantial possibility of a future event leading to an income loss. If the plaintiff discharges that burden of proof, then depending upon the facts of the case, the plaintiff may prove the quantification of that loss of earning capacity, either on an earnings approach, as in Steenblok, or a capital asset approach, as in Brown. The former approach will be more useful when the loss is more easily measurable, as it was in Steenblok. The latter approach will be more useful when the loss is not as easily measurable, as in Pallos and Romanchych. A plaintiff may indeed be able to prove that there is a substantial possibility of a future loss of income despite having returned to his or her usual employment. That was the case in both Pallos and Parypa. But, as Donald J.A. said in Steward, an inability to perform an occupation that is not a realistic alternative occupation is not proof of a future loss.
 On the facts of this case, the trial judge found that there was no substantial possibility of a future event leading to an income loss. That should have been the end of the enquiry. That was a reasonable conclusion on the evidence because there was no evidence that she was limited in performing any realistic alternative occupation.
QUANTIFYING DIMINISHED EARNING CAPACITY
In Mackie v Gruber, the British Columbia Court of Appeal discussed different methods that the Court considers when attempting to quantify an amount for diminished earning capacity.
 Quantifying an award for loss of future earning capacity is a notoriously difficult judicial task given the multitude of factors and future uncertainties at play. It is not a mathematical calculation, but a matter of assessment and judgment, guided by the basic principle that a plaintiff is entitled to be placed in the same position she would have been in but for the accident, and directed at producing an award that is reasonable and fair to all parties: Rosvold v. Dunlop, 2001 BCCA 1, 84 B.C.L.R. (3d) 158.
 In Pallos, the case referred to by the trial judge, Mr. Justice Finch set out a number of approaches to this task:
 The cases to which we were referred suggest various means of assigning a dollar value to the loss of capacity to earn income. One method is to postulate a minimum annual income loss for the plaintiff’s remaining years of work, to multiply the annual projected loss times the number of years remaining, and to calculate a present value of this sum. Another is to award the plaintiff’s entire annual income for one or more years. Another is to award the present value of some nominal percentage loss per annum applied against the plaintiff’s expected annual income. In the end, all of these methods seem equally arbitrary. It has, however, often been said that the difficulty of making a fair assessment of damages cannot relieve the court of its duty to do so. In all the circumstances, I would regard a fair award under this head to be the sum of $40,000.
 In my view, the trial judge properly found the four criteria in Brown v. Golaiy were satisfied and Ms. Mackie’s injuries had significantly reduced her future capacity to earn income. Using her pre-accident income as a tool in assessing her lost capacity is an accepted approach, and Ms.Mackie’s tax returns for 2001-2006 show an average income in the range of $65,000. I am unable to see any reviewable error in the trial judge’s conclusion that two years of that annual income, being $130,000, represented a fair and reasonable award on the facts before him.
MAKING a CLAIM for DIMINISHED EARNING CAPACITY, EVEN WHEN YOUR EARNINGS INCREASE AFTER an ACCIDENT
There is a common misconception that if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, but your earnings actually increase in the years following the accident, then you cannot make an ICBC claim for diminished earning capacity.
In Brechin v. Pickering, the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident, and brought an ICBC claim for soft tissue injuries to his neck, shoulders, and knee. At the time of the accident, he was employed as an electrician, and took minimal time off following the accident. In the year after the accident, the Plaintiff’s yearly earnings actually increased, although he was still limited in performing work tasks at the heavier end of the scale. ICBC’S lawyer argued that there should be no award for diminished earning capacity, however the Court rejected this argument, and awarded the Plaintiff $60,000 for diminished earning capacity.
 The possibility of a future event is not specifically that Mr. Brechin will be laid off because of his condition, which is relatively unlikely, given that the medical evidence suggests that his condition is not disabling, but the more general vagaries of business that have made employment “for life”, once a common expectation, highly uncertain. Should Mr. Brechin lose his position for such a reason he would be put back into a competitive environment where a fraction of the heaviest work would be lost to him.
 In this case, that involves a consideration of the medical evidence; Mr. Brechin’s age and likely working life; the relative stability of his employment at Fortis; the possibility that either Mr. Brechin’s condition, or larger workplace and market forces will change his situation, and the prospects he could have were that to happen. It seems clear that Mr. Brechin could work but that to some extent this range of opportunities would be limited at the heavier end of the work. The degree to which this is attributable to the accident diminishes over time as age and other factors come into play. I think it would be an error to assume the same capacity for heavy work in a 50 year old, that one would find in someone significantly younger. Doing the best I can to assess these factors, I fix $60,000 for future loss of income due to the diminishment of his capacity viewed as a capital asset. I have done so, bearing in mind his present income earning capacity, which is an improvement over the years before the accident, but that the injuries suffered in the accident may reduce, somewhat, his broader opportunities to work as an electrician.
MAKING a CLAIM for DIMINISHED EARNING CAPACITY, WHEN THERE HAS BEEN VERY LITTLE or NO PAST WAGE LOSS
Many people believe it is the case that no such claim can be made under this scenario, however this is not true.
In Clark v. Kouba, the Plaintiff was injured in a rear end collision, and brought an ICBC claim for several heads of damages, including pain and suffering, and diminished earning capacity. She missed very little work, only missing time to attend medical appointments, or to sometimes leave early because of headaches. She in fact did not make any claim for loss of income. Despite this, the Plaintiff was able to convince the Court that there was a real and substantial possibility of a future event leading to an income loss. The Court used the capital asset approach in arriving at an amount for diminished earning capacity. In other words, the Court found that the Plaintiff’s capacity to earn income in the future had been impaired. In awarding diminished earning capacity in the amount of $100,000.00, the Court commented that :
 Even though Ms. Clark has not missed any work up until this point, I am satisfied, however, on the preponderance of the evidence that the plaintiff has established a real and substantial possibility of a future event leading to an income loss. Dr. Armstrong recommends that Ms. Clark take two to three months off from employment and discontinue her running program in order to allow sufficient time for rehabilitation and in order to allow her to advance her recovery and to ensure that she is not undoing what she is accomplishing in rehabilitation. That recommendation alone, which I accept, establishes a diminished future earning capacity in future in the range of just under $25,000.00.
 There are many positive and negative contingencies which impact Ms. Clark’s future recovery and long-term earning capacity. Assuming that Ms. Clark takes three months off and recovers sufficiently, she may be able to return to work in a manner that allows minimal impact on her working life. That is the most optimistic outcome.
 However, there are negative contingencies. Dr. Armstrong, Dr. Ryan and Dr. Lloyd-Smith are all guarded with respect to Ms. Clark’s long-term recovery. Ms. Clark may be managing her chronic pain right up to the conclusion of her working life. That will have an impact on Ms. Clark’s capacity to earn income as a capital asset.
 It is my view that the loss is not easily measurable, and a capital asset approach is the appropriate approach to this loss. Having considered all of the evidence, it is my view that a total award of $100,000.00 is appropriate under this head of damage, of which $25,000.00 reflects the loss resulting from Dr. Armstrong’s recommendation of time off for recovery, and $75,000.00 represents my assessment of the chance that negative contingencies will cause Ms. Clark to incur future wage loss.
In Rozendaal v. Landigin, the Plaintiff was injured in two motor vehicle collisions, and brought ICBC claims for damages arising therefrom. Although the Plaintiff only suffered $101 in wage loss for two missed days of work, she was still awarded $50,000.00 for diminished earning capacity.
 A claim for loss of future earning capacity raises two key questions: first, has the plaintiff’s earning capacity been impaired by his or her injuries; and second, if it has, what compensation should be awarded for the financial harm that will accrue over time as a result? As far as possible, the plaintiff should be put in the position he or she would have been in but for the injuries caused by the defendant’s negligence: Lines v. W & D Logging Co. Ltd., 2009 BCCA 106 at para. 185.
 The essential task of the Court is to compare the likely future of the plaintiff’s working life had the accident not happened with the likely future given the accident. This is a matter of judgment based on the evidence; it is not a purely mathematical calculation. The appropriate means of assessment will vary from case to case. See: Gregory v. Insurance Corp. of British Columbia, 2011 BCCA 144 at para. 32; Rosvold v. Dunlop, 2001 BCCA 1 at para. 18; Brown v. Golaiy (1985), 26 B.C.L.R. (3d) 353 (S.C.); Pallos v. Insurance Corp. of British Columbia (1995), 100 B.C.L.R. (2d) 260 (C.A.); and Pett v. Pett, 2009 BCCA 232.
 As I view the evidence, there is a real and substantial possibility that Ms. Rozendaal’s ability to earn income as an LPN and in other fields of work will be limited by her injuries, by reason of the physical challenges of, specifically, LPN work, and the strain Ms. Rozendaal experiences in sedentary office work, particularly at a computer.
 I conclude that Ms. Rozendaal will for the most part suffer through her symptoms in order to achieve her dream of, ultimately, working as an RN. She also feels a heavy responsibility to support her family as best she can.
 In my view, the possibility of Ms. Rozendaal giving up an advantageous employment offer — whether in nursing or in another field — is slight, because of her natural determination to succeed as an individual and as a responsible spouse and parent. However, there is a real and substantial possibility that Ms. Rozendaal’s physical challenges will make her less attractive to prospective employers, delaying her entry into a competitive market. Ms. Rozendaal performed extremely well in the LPN program. However, Ms. Sharoom noticed that she required help with physical tasks, and testified that the work was therefore harder for her classmates.
In Morlan v. Barrett, the court noted that:
 Having considered the whole of the evidence together, I say that three real and substantial possibilities have been made out: that the plaintiff’s condition will improve; that the plaintiff’s condition will remain as it is; and that the plaintiff’s condition will worsen. In “giv[ing] weight according to their relative likelihood” to these three hypothetical events I find that the possibility of her condition improving barely rises above mere speculation and that the possibility of her remaining the same and the possibility of her condition worsening are both great (Athey v. Leonati, 1996 CanLII 183 (SCC),  3 S.C.R. 458 at paragraph 27).
 I find that there most certainly is a real and substantial possibility that the reduction in the plaintiff’s capacity to earn income will result in lost income – including benefits – in the future. Beyond the fact that nothing in life is certain and that she may yet find herself on the job market there is the real and substantial possibility that even if she remains in her current job until the end of her working career, her working career will end earlier than it would otherwise have absent the effects on the plaintiff of the defendants’ negligence. That is so because it is a real and substantial possibility that her fibromyalgia will remain as it is but common experience dictates that as one moves into one’s latter years the ability to work in spite of a condition that drains one’s energy diminishes. Independently of that, it is a real and substantial possibility that the plaintiff’s fibromyalgia – and with it loss of energy – will worsen. I make that finding having considered the whole of the evidence including that of the plaintiff as to her recent experience and of all of the doctors and concluded as the trier of fact that I rely most on the evidence of Dr. Beck.
 I take into account factors beyond those that relate to the state of the health of the plaintiff and her ability to work. The plaintiff has established a real and substantial possibility – not mere speculation – that had she not had to forfeit her job at the B.C. Fed she would have, within a few years of the date of the motor vehicle accidents, taken advantage of an opportunity to perhaps move up in the hierarchy of the B.C. Fed to the point of becoming a Director and with that received an increase in salary and benefits. That is the net effect of the evidence of the plaintiff and of Lynda Bueckert. Moreover, as of January 6, 2007 the plaintiff had to assume that she would retire from the B.C. Fed when she turned 65. After January 6, 2007 the law changed. I find that the plaintiff’s love for her job at the B.C. Fed combines with my picture of what she was before January 6, 2007 and results in my accepting her evidence to the effect that it is a real and substantial possibility that absent the defendants’ negligence she would have continued to work at the B.C. Fed even after she had turned 65. I have considered the positive and negative vagaries of life, i.e., the contingencies. Having considered the whole of it I award the plaintiff $425,000.
MAKING a CLAIM FOR DIMINISHED EARNING CAPACITY, WHEN YOU ARE a STAY AT HOME PARENT
In Bergman v. Standen, the court addressed the issue of a claimant who did not have “an established record of employment because of the conscious choice she and her husband made to have and raise their children to school age with the benefit of a stay-at-home-mother”. Nevertheless, the court made an award for diminished earning capacity.
 The defendant takes the position that the plaintiff has not satisfied the first test articulated in Perren, namely, that there is a real and substantial possibility (as opposed to mere speculation) that the plaintiff will suffer a future event leading to an income loss.
 I am satisfied that the plaintiff has established a real and substantial possibility of a future event giving rise to an income loss. Ms. Bergman is not particularly academically inclined. Although she attended the University of Lethbridge for a year, she did that primarily because of the opportunity it gave her to play varsity soccer. She has not furthered her education since. In addition, her interests and work experience have almost invariably inclined toward either the outdoors or more physical activities. Her parents have pursued a number of small business ventures. Ms. Bergman worked in those enterprises from a young age. For several years, she worked in a coffee shop run by her older sister where she made muffins, bussed tables and waited on customers. It was physical work. Based on all of the evidence, I am satisfied that Ms. Bergman has a good work ethic and is inclined towards physical as opposed to what might be described as more cerebral endeavours.
 Ms. Bergman does not have an established record of employment because of the conscious choice she and her husband made to have and raise their children to school age with the benefit of a stay-at-home mother. I accept that Ms. Bergman planned to and will return to work when her youngest child reached school age. I accept that the sort of work she is destined to do will likely involve an emphasis on physical as opposed to mental exertion. There is a mill in Lavington that Ms. Bergman thought about applying to. She impresses me as the sort of person who would find work of that nature rewarding and challenging. It is with a view to those real and substantial possibilities that the question of her indefinite, albeit moderating disability, needs to be assessed.
 Given the absence of an employment history and the absence of a readily available method by which to quantify this aspect of Ms. Bergman’s claim, I propose to use the capital asset approach described by Garson J.A. in Perren.
MAKING a CLAIM FOR DIMINISHED EARNING CAPACITY WHEN YOUR GRADUATION DATE HAS BEEN DELAYED
In Rezaei v. Piedade, the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident, and brought an ICBC claim for damages. The effects of her injuries caused a two year delay to her graduation from University, as for a great deal of time she was only able to take a part-time course load, rather than a full-time one. She was an exemplary student prior to the accident, however her grades suffered greatly after the accident. The Court awarded $70,000.00 in diminished earning capacity to the Plaintiff for her delayed entry into the workforce.
 In the ensuing years at Simon Fraser University, the plaintiff has generally taken a part-time course load. She has often taken additional courses at the outset of an academic term only to later drop them. She has had to repeat certain courses to improve her grades. The details of what has happened from term to term are of no moment. The fact is that, at this point, her graduation has been delayed by at least one year and seven months, from May 2013 to December 2014. She requires 120 credits to graduate; she currently has 67 credits.
 The plaintiff’s anticipated graduation date is premised on her taking and carrying a full-time course load henceforth, something she has not yet done. It is further premised on her studying in the summers, or at least part of them, and on being able to take the courses that she requires in the summer. If she is unable to graduate by April 2015, her plans to go to graduate school and obtain a Master’s Degree would be further delayed.
 Ms. Rezaei presently plans to work in public health or health administration. The expert report of Mr. Peever, an economist, establishes that $35,000 per annum represents an average salary for the jobs that the plaintiff might be suited for when she graduates. No objection was taken to that figure.
MAKING a CLAIM FOR DIMINISHED EARNING CAPACITY, EVEN THOUGH INJURIES may be MINOR
In Sidhu v. Kiraly, the Plaintiff was only awarded $35,000.00 for pain and suffering, however was awarded $350,000.00 for diminished earning capacity.
 Turning now to future loss of income or future loss of capacity, as I have indicated, I accept that the plaintiff will not be able to return to his work as a heavy duty mechanic and that he is permanently unable to undertake heavy labour of any kind. This is a limitation on the plaintiff’s “ability to take advantage of all job opportunities which might otherwise have been open to him, had he not been injured”, and a valid consideration in the determination of future income loss: Brown v. Golaiy 1985 CanLII 149 (BC SC), (1985), 26 B.C.L.R. (3d) 353 at para. 8 (S.C.).
 I also am of the view that his choice of real estate agent as a future career was a reasonable one in the circumstances. In my view, given the plaintiff’s personality and his persistence, he is likely to succeed as a real estate agent.
 The plaintiff relies on the report of Gerry Taunton to calculate future income loss. Mr. Taunton calculates Mr. Sidhu’s without accident income as a mechanic to age 65 at $1,096,233 and his with accident income as a realtor at $561,552, a difference of $534,681.
 The court must consider all of the evidence in assessing what makes a reasonable award for such a future loss. Projections, calculations and formulas may be useful in determining what is fair and reasonable. It is important for the courts to look at all relevant factors before fixing an amount. Any award under this head of damages must be set off against appropriate contingencies.
 Having considered the assessment provided by Mr. Gerry Taunton and considering the contingencies in this case, positive and negative, in my view, an appropriate award for future loss of income or capacity is $350,000. I do not accept the defendant’s submission that one year of income would be appropriate in this case. As I have indicated, the plaintiff has been permanently disabled from his lifetime occupation as a heavy duty mechanic. He has been forced to retrain. There is some prospect that he will earn more than the median income of male realtors in British Columbia. There is also the prospect that he will earn less. I have assessed the amount of the award in this case as best I am able, considering all of the contingencies.
CPP PAYMENTS NOT to be DEDUCTED
When an award for diminished earning capacity has been made, the lawyer for ICBC will often argue that any future CPP benefits payable to the claimant should be deducted from the amount awarded .
In Kean v Porter, Seniuk, and ICBC, the Court dismissed the argument of ICBC’S lawyer in this regard.
 Counsel for the defendant and the third party argued that CPP disability benefits received by Mr. Kean should be deducted from his award for past wage loss, and the present value of future CPP disability benefits should be deducted from his future income award. The thrust of their argument is that this is necessary to prevent double recovery. The defendant argues that CPP disability benefits are a form of mandatory social insurance that workers cannot negotiate out of, and the scheme is a form of income replacement.
 The defendant’s argument is essentially the same argument that these same counsel made unsuccessfully in the case of Maillet v. Rosenau 2006 BCSC 10. In Maillet, the plaintiff had received social assistance payments which were deducted from the past wage loss, but Powers J. did not accede to the defendant’s argument that future CPP disability benefits should be deducted from the award for losses of future earnings.
 In Maillet, Powers J. followed a line of authority which had held that the CPP disability pension scheme was essentially an insurance scheme and covered by the insurance exception to the rule against double recovery.
 The defendant wishes to characterize the CPP disability payments as a form of social security because it is a legislative creature and contributions are mandatory. But, unlike social assistance, it is funded by contributions and only those who have contributed can benefit. There is an overlap of recovery, but that is inherent in the insurance exception to the rule against double recovery. The other side of the coin is that to deduct the CPP benefits from a tort award is to force the injured contributor to share the benefits of his contributions, (which represent deductions from his former earnings), with the tortfeasor.
 I conclude, as did the court in Maillet, that the law in this jurisdiction is settled to the effect that CPP disability benefits fall within the insurance exception to the rule against double recovery and should not be deducted from tort awards for past or future wage loss.
FUTURE ACCESS to SICK BANK
In Kilian v. Valentin, the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle when she was rear-ended, and consequently brought an ICBC claim for damages. She made a claim for diminished earning capacity based on three components, one of which was her concern that the injuries she sustained in the motor vehicle accident in question would cause her to miss work, meaning that she would need to access her sick bank in the future, just like she had the previous several years. The Court awarded the Plaintiff $30,000.00 for this component of her claim for diminished earning capacity.
 While it is not surprising that Ms. Kilian experienced exacerbations of her neck pain during this period of time, one cannot reasonably conclude that such exacerbations will intensify and require constantly increasing usage of sick time. To the contrary, until the 2011-2012 school year, it appeared that Ms. Kilian was gradually on course to minimize exacerbations of her neck pain.
 In my view, a fair approach involves an averaging of the days Ms. Kilian has missed from her teaching position over the past four years as a result of her injuries. She missed 29.6 days for reasons relating to the injuries she suffered in the accident, or 7.4 days per year on average. The cost to the school district (and to the teacher, in order to replenish her sick bank) to fund a replacement teacher is $307 per day, or $2,271.80 per year. Assuming that Ms. Kilian will work until she is 62 years of age, and taking into account any contingencies, the present value is approximately $30,000. Accordingly, I award Ms. Kilian $30,000 for the cost of future access to her sick bank.