One of the most disheartening parts of a serious injury is facing the prospect that the rest of your life will be affected in some way. After an accident, you may never be able to hold the same job, or pursue your dream career due to pain, disfigurement, or other physical limitations. As a result, you may be limited in what kind of jobs you can get, where you can work, or even if you can work at all. A serious accident may limit your earning capacity, and you should be compensated for the loss of future wages.
In Washington D.C., a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit can seek damages for the loss of their future earning capacity. Depending on the age of the individual, their education, job history and other factors, future earning capacity can add up to millions of dollars. If an injury has such a powerful impact on your future, it is only fair that you should be allowed to recover for this significant financial loss.
In a personal injury case, the amount the plaintiff is seeking to put themselves back in the position they would have been before the accident is usually referred to as compensatory damages. This includes costs for property damage, medical bills and lost wages. It also includes non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium. Damages can also include future costs associated with the injury, such as continuing healthcare costs and future income loss.
Diminished Earning Capacity in D.C. Personal Injury Claims
Proving damages for lost wages can be relatively straightforward. If you have a year's worth of pay stubs showing a consistent income, and suddenly, for a time period following an injury, your income is reduced, lost wages may be calculated simply. However, the loss of earning capacity is a more complicated formula, that may require expert analysis.
An individual's diminished earning capacity refers to the loss of future income and earnings from losing the ability to work, or having a position downgraded to a lower paying job as the result of an injury. While it may be clear to you that the injury will result in future reduced earnings, you may need to rely on an expert's report to evaluate and calculate your diminished earning capacity.
A minor injury from which an individual will fully recover may not result in a loss of earning capacity. Claims involving an injury with a relatively short-term recovery period may include a request for lost wages, but will not likely lead to long-term income loss. However, an injury that is more long-lasting or permanent in nature may affect your ability to work and will have an impact on your long-term employment. Similarly, even if you are able to work at your same company, but at a lower paying position, your injury may have a serious financial impact on your future earning capacity.
In most personal injury cases involving damages for loss of earning capacity, the plaintiff will have a medical professional offer an expert report or testimony that shows the injury is permanent or disabling. This may include an assessment of the individual's potential chances at a full or partial recovery, and how they may be physically or mentally limited in their continuing employment.
After demonstrating the existence of a permanent injury, you may need an economic expert to quantify the value of your lost earnings. The expert may review a number of financial documents, including your prior salary, employment prospects, life expectancy, employment forecasts, chances at advancement, and a number of factors.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Washington D.C.
Establishing damages for the loss of earning capacity may sound complicated, but an experienced Washington D.C. personal injury attorney will work with experts to help determine the extent of your damages. Your attorney will also guide you through the process and advise you of each step to take along the way, so you stay informed and in control of your case. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the irresponsible or negligent behavior of another person, please do not hesitate to call the Gilman & Bedigian team today for a free consultation.