How Vicissitudes Impact Future Economic Loss in Legal Cases

Nov 24, 2023 | Publication

When it comes to calculating future economic loss in legal cases, one concept that often arises is “vicissitudes.” But what exactly are vicissitudes, and how do they affect the compensation awarded to plaintiffs? In this article, we’ll delve into the definition of vicissitudes, explore the standard percentage applied, and identify situations where the usual percentage may not be applied.

What Are Vicissitudes?

Vicissitudes, in legal terms, refer to “a change of circumstances or fortune.” When a plaintiff is seeking damages in a legal case, it’s important to consider the potential changes in their circumstances and financial fortune in the future. In essence, it involves assessing how life’s uncertainties can impact the calculation of future economic loss.

The Role of Vicissitudes in Legal Cases

Vicissitudes play a crucial role in legal cases, particularly when determining future economic loss. To ensure a fair and accurate calculation of damages, the Civil Liability Act in many jurisdictions mandates that courts consider vicissitudes when awarding compensation.

The Standard Deduction for Vicissitudes

One of the key aspects of vicissitudes in legal cases is the standard deduction applied. In most cases, a 15% deduction is the norm when calculating future economic loss. This means that when estimating the financial impact of an injury or loss, courts typically reduce the potential compensation by 15% to account for the inherent uncertainties in life.

Exceptions to the Standard Percentage

While a 15% deduction is the standard practice, there are situations in which the usual percentage may not be applied. One notable exception is when the plaintiff is nearing retirement age, and unexpected adverse vicissitudes of life are less likely to occur.

In such cases, a smaller deduction may be deemed appropriate. Courts may take into consideration the reduced probability of significant future changes in the plaintiff’s circumstances, as retirement age often marks a transition to a more stable financial phase of life.

It’s important to note that the determination of the appropriate deduction for vicissitudes is a complex process, and courts weigh various factors, including the plaintiff’s age, occupation, and the nature of the injury or loss when making this assessment.

The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this publication is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. We are not responsible for the information of any source to which a link is provided or reference is made and exclude all liability in connection with use of these sources. If you do not wish to receive newsletters from us, please let us know.

Latest Insights

Can a Will be done electronically – not on paper?

Can a Will be valid if it is found on a computer (i.e. not signed with pen and in a hard copy form)? The Supreme Court of South Australia recently examined the validity of an electronic Will created on an iPad and signed using an iPad pen. The decision of In the...

Landmark Decision: Melenewycz v Whitfield [2015] NSWSC 1482

In a significant legal precedent, the New South Wales Supreme Court addressed the applicability of blameless accident provisions in motor accident compensation cases, specifically concerning single-vehicle accidents. The case of Melenewycz v Whitfield [2015] NSWSC...

Plaintiff’s Duty to Mitigate Loss: Understanding the Implications

In the realm of legal disputes, the principle that plaintiffs have a duty to mitigate their losses holds paramount importance. The fundamental premise is clear: if a plaintiff's inaction or unreasonable action leads to avoidable loss, the compensation awarded may be...

Can you still make a claim?

Many claims have limitation periods. A limitation period is a set time frame within which an aggrieved person must commence proceedings in a Court. These limitation periods generally commence from the date of the injury and/or incident. Some claims however, such as...

Teacher convicted for failing to report sexual abuse of a child

Teacher, Mr Webb of Trinity College Perth, was unsuccessful in his appeal against his conviction of failing to report sexual abuse of a child in a decision delivered on 13 October 2021. In April 2017, a group of boys from the school went on a school rugby trip to...