Chan Lung Hing v Ng Kam Man
Despite the total lack of documentary evidence, counsel for the Plaintiff attempted to persuade the court to accept the pre-accident earnings of the Plaintiff at HK$15,000 per month. The counsel for Plaintiff submitted that the Plaintiff would need an income of HK$15,000 per month to cover the reasonable expenses for his family of three.
The Court rejected to assess the Plaintiff’s earnings by making reference to his reasonable expenses. Further, the Court considered the Plaintiff’s evidence on his earnings was self-contradictory and unreliable. In this regard, the Court ruled against the Plaintiff and found that he failed to prove any loss in earnings. In the circumstances, no award was made under pre-trial loss of earnings.
Wong Ka Ming v Ng Yin King
In the case of Wong Ka Ming, a public light bus driver was injured in a traffic accident. Judgment on liability was entered against the Defendants with damages to be assessed. Part of the Plaintiff’s claim for pre-trial loss of earnings was based on earning a net profit of HK$800 per day before the accident and a sick leave of around 7 months due to the back injury sustained in the accident. However, the Plaintiff, being a self-employed person, was unable to provide documentary evidence to substantiate his earnings before the accident.
The Plaintiff gave oral evidence in court to explain the calculation of his earnings. He referred to some parameters but no mathematical calculation was provided. He mainly relied on his experience as public light bus driver in assessing his income. Even though the Plaintiff failed to provide concrete documentary evidence on his earnings, the court took into account of the Plaintiff’s occupation and his oral evidence in assessing the Plaintiff’s earnings. The Court ruled in favour of the Plaintiff and accepted that HK$800 per day is a reasonable income for a self-employed public light bus driver. In the circumstances, the Court assessed the Plaintiff’s pre-trial loss of earnings based on HK$800 per day.
It follows that the credibility of plaintiff would be the key to succeed in such claim. As shown in the Wong Ka Ming case, the Court will consider the reason for such absence and the overall evidence of the plaintiff. If the plaintiff is forthcoming and gives reasonable explanation on his earnings, it is more likely for the Court to take the plaintiff’s case into consideration and assess the plaintiff’s earnings accordingly.
The law and procedure on this subject are very specialized and complicated. This article is just a very general outline for reference and cannot be relied upon as legal advice in any individual case. If any advice or assistance is needed, please contact our solicitors.
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Published by ONC Lawyers © 2015