While many of the lasting consequences of a personal injury are physical or mental, some are financial. Those who suffered catastrophic injuries usually cannot work in the same job as before. Even if they can work another job, they may have to work in a more limited capacity.
If this has happened to you or a loved one, and the accident that caused the injury was a result of negligence, a lawyer may be able to help you seek compensation for loss of earning capacity.
Friedman, Domiano and Smith has been a trusted advocate for the injured in northeast Ohio for decades, securing millions in compensation. Our Cleveland personal injury lawyers take cases on contingency, which means there are no upfront fees to pay.
Call Friedman, Domiano and Smith for legal help: 216-621-0070.
What Is Loss of Earning Capacity?
Earning capacity refers to the amount of money you may be capable of earning later in your career. If you lose earning capacity because of an injury, you are unable to earn the amount of money you would have been capable of earning if the injury did not occur.
Injured victims often suffer loss of earning capacity because they cannot work at the same job they did before the injury. If they can work at all, they must work in a different job that pays less than the job they had before.
While the value of lost earning capacity can be significant for many injured victims, claims brought by those who cannot work at all are likely to have a higher value than claims brought by those who can work in some capacity. However, each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own.
What Is the Difference Between Loss of Income and Loss of Earning Capacity?
Lost income and lost earning capacity are not the same thing. Lost income refers to employment compensation you lost in the past. Lost earning capacity refers to income you are not going to earn in the future because of limitations on your ability to work.
Your lawyer can determine the exact value of your lost income, while the value of loss of earning capacity is a projection based on numerous factors.
What Factors Need To Be Considered in Your Lost Earning Capacity?
The challenge with placing a value on lost earning capacity is that there are many factors to consider. Your lawyer needs to determine what you would likely have been able to earn in the future if the injury did not occur. Your lawyer is likely to evaluate:
- Your education – Your career path is greatly influenced by your education and professional certifications. Typically, the more education and professional training you have received, the more career opportunities you are likely to have. Your lawyer may also consider the education, licenses and certifications you would likely have been able to attain if you did not suffer an injury.
- The industry in which you work – The field you work in has arguably the most significant effect on your future earning capacity. Your lawyer must consider what other individuals with jobs like yours are likely to earn in the future. Another factor that must be weighed is whether your industry is likely to grow or contract in the future.
- Your history of raises and promotions – Past performance is a strong indicator of future performance. Your salary and promotion history give insight into your likely career trajectory.
- Your job skills – Workers who have a lot of marketable skills are likely to earn more money than those who have fewer skills.
- Where you live – Earnings vary by geographic location. Where you live has a significant effect on the salary/wage you earn at a job.
Evidence For Loss of Earning Capacity
Your lawyer may need to bring in an economic or vocational expert to evaluate your loss of earning capacity. Lawyers and experts may gather various pieces of evidence to support the value of your claim:
- Documentation of the degrees, certifications and licenses you have earned
- Documentation of your earnings at the time of injury and past salary/wage history
- Assessments of salaries/wages for others in your industry, such as market surveys
If you can work, but you must work in a different industry or in a lower-paying job, your lawyer needs to determine the difference between your new earning capacity and what your earning capacity would likely have been if you did not get injured.
Expert testimony from economic and/or vocational experts is vital to a loss of earning capacity claim. Experts can provide their evaluation of the victim’s likely career path, had the injury not happened.
What if You Are Self-Employed?
Evaluating loss of earning capacity is complicated, but it can be even more complicated if the victim was self-employed. The longer the business has been in operation and the steadier the earnings, the easier it may be to determine the victim’s lost earning capacity. However, these calculations may be a lot harder if the business is new and has struggled financially.
Call Friedman, Domiano and Smith To Discuss Your Injury Claim
Personal injuries can cause a variety of damages, including loss of earning capacity. You need an experienced lawyer with a history of results to recover full compensation after an injury, including compensation for lost earning capacity.
At our firm, we are dedicated to securing all the compensation you need to help you move forward from this unexpected situation.
Free legal consultation and no upfront fees. Contact us: 216-621-0070.
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