In a split second, an accident can irreversibly change the course of someone’s life. Whether an injury is caused in a car crash, work accident, sudden fall, or another type of accident, it is likely to have a profound impact on the victim. This is especially true of catastrophic injuries that result in permanent disability. Someone who is permanently disabled in an accident may be unable to fulfill the career plans he or she intended.
Individuals who suffer severe injuries that impact their ability to earn a living may be entitled to compensation for lost earning capacity. Read on to learn more.
Reduced Earning Capacity Caused by a Catastrophic Injury
Personal injury claims are used to pursue financial reimbursement for damages. Lost income and lost earning capacity are two categories of damages that are common in catastrophic injury cases. Lost income or lost wages refers to the income a person misses out on while he or she is recovering from an injury. Lost earning capacity, on the other hand, refers to the loss of a person’s ability to earn an income.
Consider a machinist who uses his hands everyday at work. If he suffers a catastrophic injury that requires the amputation of his arm, this will undoubtedly influence the man’s ability to earn a living. His previous career may be impossible. The man may be entitled to financial compensation for his lost earning capacity.
Calculating Lost Earning Capacity
Lost earning capacity refers to the lost income a person could have earned had he or she remained uninjured. There is no formula for calculating lost earning capacity in a personal injury claim. Expert witnesses in the fields of medicine and vocational rehabilitation are often asked to provide insight about how an injury affects a victim’s ability to work.
When determining lost earning capacity, attorneys, insurance companies, and courts may consider:
The victim’s work history and projected career path
The victim’s pre-accident income
The victim’s job skills, education, and training
The victim’s life expectancy
The victim’s intended retirement date
Promotions, raises, and achievements the victim earned while working and the potential for future career advancements
Calculating lost earning capacity can be tricky because it requires an estimation of the income the person could have received if he or she had not been injured. A skilled personal injury lawyer can help.
Contact a Cook County Personal Injury Lawyer
The Elmhurst catastrophic injury attorneys at Schwartz Injury Law have obtained over $2.5 billion in verdicts and judgments for our clients. We can help you seek maximum compensation for your lost earning capacity and other damages. Call 708-226-9000 for a free consultation.