Personal Injury

Upward trend in retirement age affects economic loss theory

When considering retirement age as part of the theory of economic loss in personal injury cases, a cautious approach is required – particularly with younger plaintiffs, Toronto critical injury lawyer Dale Orlando writes in Lawyers Weekly.

“In cases where a person is unlikely to return to work or has returned to work but is likely to have to retire earlier than otherwise would have been the case, a major part of the theory revolves around the person’s expected retirement age but for the accident. While each case turns on its own facts, to some extent both plaintiff counsel and defence counsel will base their theories on a presumed retirement age,” says Orlando, partner with McLeish Orlando LLP.

But, he adds, many defence theories are based on the notion that people are retiring earlier than in previous generations, although recent data shows an upward trend in retirement age as life expectancy is increasing and many cannot afford to retire.

“The life expectancy for females has increased from 61 to 84 years from 1920 to 2011, and from 59 to 80 years for males. Statistics Canada also predicts that by 2036 the average life expectancy could reach 88.4 years for females and 85.4 years for males,” says Orlando.

“A 2012 Statistics Canada report on retirement ages sets out that in 2009, a 50-year-old worker could expect to continue working for an average of 16 more years (16.3 years for men and 16.1 years for women), which means retiring at the age of 66,” he adds.

“To suggest that a plaintiff that is currently 25 years of age would likely retire at age 60, but for their injuries, ignores the current trends with regard to overall life expectancy,” writes Orlando.

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