Valuing Your Loss of Earning Capacity
Proving loss of earning capacity is difficult because you are attempting to predict the future on what someone could have earned. However, this aspect of your claim for damages can be quite substantial, so it is important to know how to accurately calculate your lost earning capacity.
The dedicated attorneys at Roden Law have represented many injury victims and know the steps to take to calculate loss of earning capacity. Our legal team is available for a free, confidential legal consultation.
What Is Lost Earning Capacity?
Lost earning capacity is a reduction in a person’s ability to earn income due to a personal injury. This situation usually arises when the injury is severe and causes the victim to become disabled or to have to go into a different line of work. For example, a person who worked in a position that required constant lifting who suffered a debilitating shoulder injury might not be able to return to this type of work. Damages stemming from lost earning capacity can result in compensation to the accident victim.
Lost earning capacity considers the economic losses that a person will suffer until the end of their work life expectancy.
Loss of Earning Capacity vs. Lost Wages
When a person is injured in an accident, it is common that he or she will lose time from work. The accident victim might have to go to the emergency room or to a doctor for a follow-up visit during their normal work hours. Their doctor may restrict them from work for a certain period of time so that their injuries can heal. The victim might have to use their sick leave or vacation time during this healing period. Victims can receive compensation for these lost wages and benefits.
While lost wages are based on specific and identifiable losses, lost earning capacity tries to determine the overall impact on the victim’s ability to earn a living after the accident. These are potential losses for the future. They have not currently been suffered but instead are a projection of future losses.
Why Loss of Earning Capacity Is Difficult to Prove
Lost wages are not usually difficult to prove because personal injury lawyers can turn to employment records and medical records to identify the missed days from work due to the injury. Lost wages can be calculated by comparing attendance records and their pay stubs. The judge or jury can examine these records to calculate the losses.
In comparison, lost earning capacity is more difficult to prove. To establish these losses, it is necessary to make reasonable predictions about the victim’s work ability and possible earnings at a date in the future.
To recover any type of damages in a personal injury case, the plaintiff through his or her lawyer will have to show that the defendant was responsible for the accident due to negligent actions. To receive compensation for lost earning capacity, the victim will have to show that the defendant’s actions caused them to suffer an injury that resulted in the lost earning capacity.
How Is Loss of Earning Capacity Calculated?
Loss of earning capacity is usually proven through the testimony of expert witnesses who review the victim’s work history and employment records to make reasonable estimates about the person’s likely future earnings before and after the accident. These experts might consider the victim’s job skills to perform other jobs for which they are qualified and the possible transferability of these skills to other professions.
These experts may analyze a variety of factors to determine the victim’s lost earning capacity, including:
- The victim’s profession
- The location where the victim worked
- The victim’s education
- The work history of the victim
- The victim’s skills, talents and abilities
- Current market values and wage rates
- History of promotions, raises and improvements in skill
You can assist with your claim for lost earning capacity by working closely with your lawyer and providing employment records and other documents that establish your work history and earning capacity.
How a Lawyer Can Help
After a person is harmed by the negligent acts of another, his or her life may forever change. Personal injury victims often suffer disabling conditions that prevent them from returning to work or require them to take up a different line of work.
If your earning capacity has been reduced due to your injury, an experienced Savannah personal injury lawyer at Roden Law can assist you. We can determine whether you are eligible for compensation for costs associated with lost earning capacity.
Because we work on a contingency-fee basis, we charge no upfront fees and only get paid if your claim is successful. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.