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Title: Idiot driver has ended my fire fighter career

Date: 23 October 2013

Question

I had an accident when a guy was overtaking on my side of the road and hit me head on. His insurance company admitted in full. Prior to the accident I was a Fire Chief. I cannot go back to this job due to my injuries. I think I may be able to do some work, not in the fire service but maybe something less manual and stressful, but I loved working in the fire service and I don’t want to do anything else. My solicitors tell me I cannot claim my full future loss of earnings because I’m not mitigating my losses. Am I being forced to find any work, no matter what it is, just to ‘mitigate my losses’?

Jeff

Answer

You may be able to claim a sum for the fact that you loved your job and you are unable to return. This is called a loss of congenial employment and I have seen awards of up to £10,000, but usually a few thousand. The Defendant will only compensate you for your reasonable losses as a result of the accident. If it is found that you can do some work then the argument is that you should at least try, thus lowering your future loss of earnings. You cannot be forced to work in any job available at the time. It must be suitable and it should consider at least your previous work experience and qualifications. For example, if you are unable to return as a fire chief and you have an interest in some other field, e.g. IT, you could seek to claim the cost of re-training as an IT specialist. You would need to consider how much the cost of re-training would be (and the Defendant ought to pay this) but you will only be able to claim the difference in earnings (and pension) as part of your loss of earnings claim. You cannot be forced back to work, but if it is found you can do some work you will have to give credit for the likely earnings you could receive through this work.

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