There are a lot of ramifications after an accident that leaves you hurt. Some of them are very foreseeable, and most people expect to have to deal with them – like medical expenses and lost wages. However, there are some repercussions of an injury that people tend to overlook. One of these is the likelihood that your ability to earn a living will be diminished because of the injuries that you suffered, especially if they were severe or disabling. A reduced earning capacity can change your life over the long term and can prove to be the most difficult part of the accident to overcome.
The personal injury attorneys at the Gilman & Bedigian law office in Philadelphia know this, and routinely work to recover compensation for an accident victim's reduced earning capacity.
Reduced Earning Capacity in Philadelphia
If the injury that you suffer in an accident is severe, there exists the very real possibility that it keeps you out of work for a long period of time, and will prevent you from earning beyond the wages or salary that you were collecting before the accident. If you were not already working, the inability to re-enter the workforce can drastically impair your freedom and keep you from living the life you want to live.
In either case, the results of an accident that you did not cause can impact your ability to earn a living and be self-sufficient. Whether it comes in the form of an inability to grow your salary through hard work and promotion, or whether it keeps you from reentering the workforce at all, the personal injury law in Pennsylvania recognizes that this professional loss was not your fault and should be compensated by the person who caused the accident in the first place. Therefore, the amount of your reduced earning capacity is one of the many forms of legal damages that you can recover in a successful personal injury lawsuit.
Reduced Earning Capacity Versus Lost Wages
Reduced earning capacity can confuse people because they seem to be the same – or at least very similar – to another kind of legal damage that is recoverable in a successful personal injury lawsuit: lost wages. These lost wages include income that you lost while you recovered, as well as future wages that you are likely to lose as your injuries and disabilities prevent you from working at your prior pace.
Future lost wages, therefore, sound a lot like reduced earning capacity. However, there is an important difference between the two that makes them distinct from one another – while lost future wages depend on the job that you had at the time of the accident and resulting injuries, your reduced earning capacity focuses on your ability to earn an income at all.
While lost future wages aim to compensate you for the wages that you stood to lose at your job, compensation for your reduced earning capacity is more about your hypothetical ability to earn a living, even if you did not have an immediate intention to do it.
This difference becomes critical for certain accident victims who may not have had a career just yet. College students who get severely hurt in an accident are unlikely to recover much of anything in lost wages, including future lost wages because they were likely making minimum wage at best in a work-study job that was bound to end in only a couple of years when they graduated. The personal injury law in Philadelphia, though, recognizes that these accident victims had a lifetime in the workforce ahead of them, and deserve to be compensated for their income that they could have made, even if they were not already making it.
How to Prove a Reduced Ability to Earn a Living
Unfortunately, the reduced capacity to earn income is more hypothetical and less certain than measuring wages missed. Therefore, proving that your ability to earn a living has been diminished by your injuries sustained in the accident can be tricky. Defense lawyers and insurance companies who want to keep from paying the coverage they promised to provide are likely to make several arguments that fight against your claim for compensation for your reduced earning capacity.
An integral part of proving that you lost at least some of your ability to earn a living requires a showing that your injuries are debilitating enough that you will not be able to work at full capacity in the future. Defense lawyers often start by challenging this idea, arguing that you are still able to work in your field of choice and expertise in spite of the injuries you sustained in the accident.
Defense lawyers often move on to an argument that the economy will have changed to such an extent that your profession would not be in as serious of a demand in the future as it is now. Unfortunately, technology development and automation can make this a compelling argument for some judges and in some cases.
To overcome these arguments, expert testimony is often a big part of a claim for damages based on your reduced earning capacity. While expert testimony can be expensive to obtain and difficult to procure, it is often well worth the time and effort to show that you have suffered a reduced earning capacity from an accident.
Gilman & Bedigian: Philadelphia's Personal Injury Lawyers
If you have been hurt in an accident in or near the city of Philadelphia, the professional repercussions of the injuries that you have suffered are likely to be substantial. Unfortunately, for people saddled with medical expenses, they are also often overlooked. Insurance companies rely on this oversight when they make initial offers of settlement for accident victims, hoping that they will accept a mere fraction of what they are entitled to recover so long as the settlement appears to cover medical bills.
The personal injury lawyers at the Philadelphia law office of Gilman & Bedigian know this and will strive to recover compensation for your reduced earning capacity in a lawsuit. Contact them online to get started.