Loss in market value from selling home early due to crash not recoverable
In a recent decision, the British Columbia Supreme Court provided an opinion on whether an individual injured in a motor vehicle accident could claim as damages the difference in the sales price of a home and the appraised value of the home at the time of the trial. The plaintiff claimed he was forced to sell the family home as a result of his injuries and by the time of trial, the value of the home had increased by $239,000.
In Mann v. Kathuria 2017 BCSC 2229, the plaintiff brought an action for damages for personal injuries sustained in a rear end motor vehicle accident. The plaintiff claimed he had been unable to return to work as truck driver for some time after the accident and had, as result, been forced to sell the family home. Shortly before the trial, the plaintiff brought an application to amend the notice of claim to claim the difference between the sale price of the home and the appraised value of home at time of trial three years later, some $239,000, as damages.
In dismissing the plaintiff’s application to amend the notice of civil claim to claim the loss of appreciation in the family home. The Court held:
19 In this case, the decision to sell the house in 2014 was a discretionary decision made by the plaintiff due to financial difficulties. It is clear from the case law that if a person’s own impecuniosity is a cause of damage, then the damage is not recoverable. The rationale behind this proposition rests on foreseeability. It is not reasonably foreseeable to a tortfeasor that they will injure an impecunious person or that a car accident will lead to a chain of events culminating in impecuniosity and subsequent economic losses.
20 Having reviewed the case law and the submissions, it is my view that the claim for appreciation of the house is not recoverable as it is not reasonably foreseeable and is too remote to be recoverable.
The Court did state that a family home is distinguishable from properties used for business purposes and generating income and noted that claims for losses on these business properties have been successful at trial (Polovnikoff v. Banks, 2009 BCSC 750 and Elofson v. Davis, 1997 CanLII 14757 (AB QB)