Research & Publications

Damages: Estimating Pecuniary Loss


"I think it is an excellent work with extremely valuable information for the personal injury legal practitioner. The text is tied more closely to the legal principles than any other work in the field, and the book provides an update of the case law on a number of points as well as a wide range of material for actuarial calculations. It is good to see a book which spreads itself evenly across the spectrum of claims, including careful attention to the loss of earning capacity of women and loss of homemaking capacity."

Dr. Ken Cooper-Stephenson, University of Saskatchewan

"I bought Cara Brown's new book. It is the best I have ever seen."

Michael B. Murphy, Murphy Collette Murphy Moncton, New Brunswick

Vincent v. Abu-Bakare

[2003] N.B.J. No. 198 2003 NBCA 42 No. 64/02/CA

Drapeau C.J.N.B., writing for the majority in Vincent v. Abu-Bakare,1 emphasizes the importance of calculating damages when there are quantifiable elements that can be calculated, such as risk of future lost earnings or profits:

If pecuniary general damages for loss of earning capacity were untethered to the risk of future lost earnings or profits, their quantum would be wholly arbitrary. In addition to being irregular and unpredictable, awards would not be subject to meaningful appellate review since there would be no parameters for their determination. Thus, in the case at hand, Mr. Vincent’s cross-appeal would be a pointless exercise, even though the compensation he seeks ($100,000) might make just as much sense as any other sum. In my view, such a result is unacceptable, having particular regard for the fact that the losses in question are pecuniary in nature. See Cara L. Brown, Damages Estimating Pecuniary Loss, looseleaf (Aurora, Ont.: Canada Law Book, 2001), at p. 1-5. (para. 57)

The Chief Justice went on to reassert the importance of properly evaluating expert evidence and the weight that can be given to a particular expert’s opinion:

In his April 7, 2000 medico-legal report, Dr. Forsythe expresses no opinion on the issue of early retirement. At the request of counsel, Justice Glennie declared Dr. Forsythe “an expert in the field of orthopaedic surgery” despite the fact that Mr. Vincent did not undergo orthopaedic surgery to any injured part of his body that may prove disabling in the future. Just as significantly, Justice Glennie did not declare Dr. Forsythe an expert in the fields of orthopaedics in general, pain management, psychology, occupational therapy or vocational assessment. See Cara L. Brown, Damages Estimating Pecuniary Loss and Mary Gerace-Gold, Joan Rinas, and Reuben Green, Future Economic Loss: A Triad of Views Necessary to Quantify Damages, 8 Advocates’ Soc. J. No. 1, 9-26. (para. 69)

1 [2003] N.B.J. No. 198 2003 NBCA 42.

"This is a broadly based text covering the assessment of damages in such cases as sexual harrassment, wrongful dismissal, wrongful confinement and wrongful death. The author give quidelines as to the cost of raising children, assumptions which matter and tips in industry issues. The reader is told how to work with expert witnesses and how to establish lost earning capacity. The case law covers such differences as exist between the different provinces. The importance of this book to the trial lawyer is that it draws together all facets of damages quantification."

Book Reviews by Ronald F. MacIsaac, MacIsaac & MacIsaac, Victoria BC ("The Verdict", published by the Trial Lawyers Association of BC, March 2006, Issue 108, p. 67)

"Cara Brown's book was extremely helpful. As a junior lawyer, I trusted it as my 'how-to' guide on a couple of new cases."

Heidi Juorio, Stephens Law Office