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McGrae v Case International, Court of Appeal

25 March 2003
The issues

Road traffic – RTA – loss of congenial employment – future loss of earnings.

The facts

The Claimant was riding his motorcycle when he was involved in an accident, as a result of which he suffered serious fractures to his wrist. He was 41. He was working as a motorcycle courier and had been for 7 weeks before the accident. Before that, he had worked as a sewing machine operator, an administrative worker and a courier driver. After the accident, he obtained work as a cleaner at a wage some £5,000.00 less than he had been earning as a motorcycle courier and between £3,000.00 and £4,500.00 less than he had been earning in his other pre-accident occupations. He claimed for a future partial loss and for damages for loss of congenial employment on the basis that he could no longer ride is motorcycle. The Defendant appealed from the Judge’s awards in respect of future loss and loss of congenial employment.

The decision

1. Pre-accident figures for earnings capacity were not appropriate as the calculation base. The figures were patently unreliable and the Judge should have awarded a round sum. The figure of £41,871.43, which the Judge had awarded under this heading, should be replaced with an award of £12,500.00.

2. The Judge had awarded a multiplier of 20.21 in respect of the Claimant’s inability to do jobs at home. This multiplier was too high and would be replaced with a multiplier of 15.

3. A loss of congenial employment award would have been appropriate if the Claimant has been employed for a lengthy period of time as a motorcycle courier, but this was not the case and the award under that head would be set aside.

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