At the trial of a personal injury case if the plaintiff proves that their injuries are likely to affect their capacity to earn income in the future the plaintiff is entitled to compensation. In civil cases events that occurred before trial must be proven on a balance of probabilities. However, future events, like how much someone would have earned absent an injury, are impossible to prove on a balance of probabilities because no one can know what will happen, or what would have happened, in the future. Because of this the courts have a different burden of proof for future losses and they must only be proved on the basis of simple probability. This means that so long as a plaintiff is able to prove that there is a real and substantial possibility of a future loss the court must assess the percentage chance the loss would have occurred and compensate the plaintiff accordingly.
For example, if a court finds that a person with a proven work history and stable job will be unable to continue working due to their injuries, the court will find it highly likely the person would have continued to work in their stable job had the accident not occurred and award their full loss. On the other hand if what a person would have done in the a future absent an injury is less certain because they are young, or don’t have an established work history, the court will make an award for future losses based on the percentage chance the court finds events in the future would have occurred in the plaintiff’s life.