I was recently a victim of a vehicular accident when the bus I was riding in suddenly lost its brakes and fell off a cliff. I was confined for two months in the hospital and until now I am unable to return to work. Fortunately, my boss assured me I can still go back, but right now I am no longer receiving any salary. My question is this: Can I ask the bus company to pay for my lost salary? Thank you.
The incident that caused your confinement and disability may be considered as a breach of contract of carriage between you and the bus company. This breach of contract may entitle you to demand damages.
Damages may be actual and compensatory, moral, nominal, temperate, liquidated or exemplary or corrective. Lost income or salary under our laws and jurisprudence is considered part of actual and compensatory damages. According to Article 2199 of the Civil Code, “Except as provided by law or by stipulation, one is entitled to an adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has duly proved. Such compensation is referred to as actual or compensatory damages.” In addition, Article 2205 states that damages may be recovered for loss or impairment of earning capacity in cases of temporary or permanent personal injury. The provision clearly states that one can recover loss of earning capacity in cases of temporary or permanent personal injury as damages.
You must prove, however, that you would have received the amount you are claiming as lost income or earning capacity had the accident been avoided. According to the Supreme Court, the claimant must present competent proof or the best evidence obtainable to justify an award for damages (People vs. Ereño, 326 SCRA 157 in Dean Ernesto L. Pineda, Torts and Damages Annotated, 2004 ed., page 119). You may present a Certificate of Employment or your pay slip prior to the accident to prove that you were earning the amount you are claiming before the accident happened.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org