In Grassick (Guardian ad litem of) v. Swansburg, the Plaintiff was a 16 year old pedestrian who was struck from the rear as he walked along a road at night. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, ranging between moderate and moderate/severe. At the time of trial, over six years after the accident, the Plaintiff continued to suffer from difficulties with memory, processing speed, focus and cognitive inefficiency.
The most contentious issue at trial was that of the Plaintiff’s entitlement to diminished earning capacity.
The Court heard how the Plaintiff, before the accident, had aspirations of becoming an engineer, which was disputed by ICBC’S lawyer, who argued that the Plaintiff’s desire to be an engineer did not arise until after litigation proceedings were commenced.
The Court was impressed with the drive and determination shown by the Plaintiff, concluding that there was a real and substantial possibility that he would have taken the necessary steps to becoming a professional engineer. The Court, however, also noted that the Plaintiff would find it difficult to work as a professional engineer, and to maintain full time employment.
ICBC’S lawyer argued that the Plaintiff has no limitation on his ability to work as an engineer other than his own perceived limitations.
Counsel for the Plaintiff relied on the expert evidence of an economist for an estimated lump sum present value of lifetime earnings of a male civil engineer in British Columbia. It is interesting to note that ICBC’S lawyer did not require the Plaintiff’s economist to attend at trial for cross-examination purposes.
The Court would eventually award the Plaintiff $3,000,000 in diminished earning capacity.
 I further find that Stirling would not have been content to be an “average” civil engineer. Stirling’s sense of self and confidence comes from being successful at what he does. He would have continued as he had before the accident, to excel in his endeavours, and to be above average. He would have done what it takes to obtain a position as an upper management engineer, or a position that would have earned him a salary greater than what the average engineer earns.
 The defendant in argument, detailed each and every mark or grade that Stirling has achieved since the accident to argue that he has excelled academically and succeeded in his co-ops. The defendant argues that Stirling has no limitation on his ability to work as an engineer other than his own perceived limitations and unrealistic notion of how successful he would be, absent the accident. Absent the accident, he would still have put in the same time and effort to succeed as he has.
 While Stirling suffers only mild cognitive impairments, they are potent for him. His cognitive impairments directly impact his drive to excel. Perhaps if he was content to be less than average at everything he does, it would not matter so much. But he was not, and is not content to be being average.
 I conclude that there is a real and substantial possibility that Stirling would have worked for a number of years as an “average” engineer, before moving up the ranks of engineers. He would have worked full time, and his professional career would be an important part of his life. He would have succeeded in becoming one of the higher paid engineers, a well above average engineer, or an upper management engineer.