A case concluded by Taylor & Emmet this week highlights the difficulties in proving loss of earnings claims for people who are self-employed.
In this case, the Claimant was injured in a Road Traffic Accident. Liability was eventually admitted by the Defendant’s insurers and I spent considerable time trying to assess the Claimant’s loss of earnings. As a result of the injury, the self-employed client was unable to work in his chosen profession for approximately 3 months. He worked on a contract-by-contract basis and had to turn down numerous jobs offered to him by various companies as a result of his injuries.
Despite obtaining written evidence from the Companies that had offered him the work, the Defendants only offered a derisory sum towards his potential loss of earnings. The Claimant’s Tax records and bank statements for three years were obtained, but did not prove the loss due to lower earnings levels in the years prior to the accident.
The client was then left in the unenviable position of having to issue Court proceedings and rely only on verbal witness evidence from himself and representatives of the Companies that had offered him work. The Defendants clearly recognised this was a strategy likely to succeed. Our client eventually accepted an offer from the Defendants which was less than he might have received, so as to avoid adjudication by a Judge and to bring the matter to a swift close.
This is a common example of the strategy used by some Defendants’ solicitors who know they can often get away with paying less to self-employed people who suffer a loss of earnings and who don’t have a clear and complete earnings history showing year-on-year increases in income.
Whereas there may be tax advantages to being self-employed, those people are usually at a disadvantage when they claim for loss of earnings after an accident.
If you have suffered an injury, whether or not with consequent loss of earnings, we will be glad to assist you to recover as much compensation as possible.