In Baltimore, personal injury law recognizes that there are a lot of different ways for people to suffer from an accident where they got hurt because of someone else's negligence. One of these issues is a victim's reduced earning capacity. Particularly an issue where the injuries you have sustained are severe, the disabilities that have resulted from the accident can prevent you from earning a living. Maryland's personal injury law sees that this is not your fault and compensates you for this form of loss.
The personal injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian strive to help accident victims in or near Baltimore recover their reduced earning capacity in a lawsuit.
What Is Reduced Earning Capacity?
Many accidents in Baltimore are life-changing and rarely in a good way. The injuries that victims sustain in an accident – whether it is a car accident or an instance of medical malpractice or a simple slip and fall incident – are often enough to keep you out of work for a significant period of time.
Many of the most severe injuries, though, prevent you from returning to work even after you have gone through the recovery and healing process. The debilitation that these injuries can cause is simply too much to return the job that you had before the accident, particularly if your job had been physically demanding. In addition, the disability that you now have to deal with can drastically reduce your ability to earn an income in other jobs, as well.
This new inability to earn an income is a loss that you would not have suffered were it not for the accident that was caused by someone else's negligence. Therefore, the personal injury law in Maryland recognizes reduced earning capacity as one of the legal damages that you have suffered in an accident and that you can recover in a successful personal injury lawsuit.
The Difference Between Reduced Earning Capacity and Lost Future Wages
Your reduced earning capacity is just one of the legal damages that you can recover in a personal injury claim against the person who hurt you. Another form of legal damages is your lost wages, which include both the income that you lost in the past, as well as the income that you lost in the future.
While your reduced earning capacity might sound identical to future lost wages, there is a nuanced difference between these two types of legal damages: future lost wages are dependent on the job that a victim had at the time of the injury, while reduced earning capacity focuses more on a victim's ability to earn an income at all even if they did not intend to make use of that ability.
For example, imagine a full-time student suffers a serious traumatic brain injury and is left unable to work for the rest of their life. The future wages that they have lost are close to zero because they were either not employed before the accident or were in a work-study position that paid minimum wage. However, it is clear that they had a lifetime ahead of them in the working world and would have been able to earn a significant income were it not for the accident that left them disabled. In such a case as this, the student's capacity to earn has been drastically reduced, even though their actual wages were not impacted.
Proving a Reduced Ability to Earn an Income
Unfortunately, because reduced earning capacity is even less grounded in concrete facts than lost future wages can be, proving your claim can be difficult. Putting a dollar amount on the work that you could have been doing but maybe were not doing at the time of the accident involves enough estimation and guesswork that defense lawyers often salivate with arguments. Proving that you are now unable to do that work can also be difficult to show as well.
From the outset, proving a claim of reduced earning capacity is tricky because it involves showing that you could have expected to receive a certain level of income in the future. With technology developing so rapidly and changing how people work and which fields are in demand, even this preliminary part of your case is going to be challenged by the defendant and their lawyers.
Second, proving that this expected level of income will be impossible to reach because of the injuries you sustained in the accident will raise opposition as well. There are a lot of repercussions of a disability but proving that it will hold you out of your field of work – or that it will partially reduce your ability to earn an income in that field – is not always easy.
Finally, there is the problem of estimating the amount of income that you stand to lose in the future because of your injury. The difference between what you could have made and what you are now able to make is what you deserve in reimbursement, but ascertaining this to a reasonable degree of certainty can be difficult.
Because of these numerous obstacles in proving a case of reduced capacity to earn, expert testimony is often required to effectively support a claim for this type of legal damage. While this can be expensive for your case and drastically increases the complexity of a personal injury lawsuit, the benefits can be significant because reduced earning capacity is often where the bulk of your compensation will come from, if you win your case.
Baltimore's Personal Injury Lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian
The personal injury attorneys at the Baltimore law office of Gilman & Bedigian strive to represent people who have been seriously hurt in or near the city. Our lawyers are especially involved in cases that stem from accidents that cause severe injuries that hold people out of the workforce.
If you or someone you love has been seriously hurt in Baltimore and are now unable to make an income, reach out to our attorneys by contacting us online.