It is fair to say that most people enjoy their jobs, it gives them a sense of purpose as well as the all-important ability to provide for themselves and their family. An injury following an accident can have a huge impact on a person’s ability to work. Fortunately, some people are able to return to work once they have made a reasonable recovery. But for those with life-changing injuries, it can sadly mean the end of their careers.
Over the years I have dealt with many clients who were understandably distraught at the loss of their careers. One was a hairdresser who as a consequence of lower limb injuries had to forego a job she loved. She really enjoyed her job and was delighted to be working on the King’s Road. But work in such an environment required being on her feet all day and in view of her condition, this was impossible. Her devastation could not be overstated, and whilst quantifying loss of job satisfaction in monetary terms is extremely difficult, I was able to claim for loss of congenial employment in addition to claiming for loss of earnings.
Another client was an arts handler at a well-known art gallery and even though he eventually made recovery following numerous surgical procedures, he is left with weakness in his upper limbs. He has residual earnings capacity but is unlikely to be able to return to his pre-accident occupation. This is because his job involves handling priceless pieces of art and his employers are not prepared to take the risk of any accidents involving these art pieces. It was such a blow to my client, who suffers from learning difficulties. He had been able to “hide” these difficulties for a number of years and enjoy the social aspect of his work. Needless to say, his confidence was severely affected. He too is able to claim for loss of congenial employment as well as loss of earnings.
Awards for loss of congenial employment are usually between £5,000 and £7,500. Not much for the loss of a satisfying job, but it is nevertheless a recognition that a claimant has lost a job that they loved.
I have on occasions also claimed for the loss of a chance of better employment in cases where my clients, by their injuries and limits imposed upon their employment, are denied the opportunity to advance their careers. The potential loss through inability to apply for promotions or take other career enhancing opportunities can be quite substantial.
It is worth considering these heads of claim in addition to the other usual losses in cases where clients have been forced to change careers through no fault of their own.