A personal injury may cause a person to be off work for a period of time. After a return to work, it may be that the injured person’s ability to perform the pre-accident work is not affected. Despite returning to work there may be a loss of work capacity that should be recognized.

Prior to an accident a person may be employed at one particular workplace but may be capable of a wide range of jobs. Although an injured person is able to return to their pre-accident work, it may be that as a result of continuing symptoms the range of pre-accident jobs they are capable of has been limited. The courts refer to this as a loss of work capacity or a loss of competitiveness. The issue, otherwise stated, is whether or not an individual having the pre-accident capacity to perform various jobs, has had that capacity restricted in some way. Again, this may be the case despite a successful return to work at the pre-accident job.

Health care providers are in a position to identify the continuing complaints, symptoms and restrictions. In combination with vocational rehabilitation experts and perhaps functional assessments, the loss of work capacity issue may be explored.

Returning to work after an accident is not equal to recovery to pre-accident condition. As we all know, no job is completely secure. If the job is lost and the individual is out looking for replacement work, has that person been put at a disadvantage as a result of continuing problems arising from the accident?