Fidelis Law Droit recently won a court decision that sets a precedent for insurance claims in New Brunswick, recognizing that an accident can interfere with the victim’s ability to earn income even if that income is undeclared.
In Arseneau v. O’Brien, 2017 NBQB 187, the court agreed that the plaintiff could claim undeclared income lost after suffering a serious motorcycle accident that prevented him from working. Until this decision, jurisprudence in NB disallowed claims for undeclared income because it was considered “founded upon an illegal act”.
However, most other Canadian provinces – as well as the Supreme Court of Canada – have taken the opposite view, based on the fact that disallowing the plaintiff’s claim would allow the responsible party to avoid the damages that it would normally have to pay. In this case, denying the injured victim the right to claim undeclared income would have benefited the wrongful actions of the person that caused the accident.
We’re pleased that this decision acknowledges the severe impact of an accident on a person’s ability to work. Ultimately, the purpose of insurance is to restore the plaintiff to the position he would have been in but for the accident. This decision is a step in the right direction for New Brunswick plaintiffs.