Loss of earnings and diminished earning capacity can be a significant portion of the economic damages component of your personal injury claim. They include lost wages you incur while you are recovering from your injuries. They can also include future loss of income because of a disabling condition or permanent impairment.
Our personal injury lawyers gather evidence and work with experts and specialists to ensure we have an accurate value for your loss of earnings/diminished earning capacity claim. We aggressively pursue maximum compensation from all parties responsible for causing your accident or personal injury.
Defining Loss of Earnings for a Personal Injury Case
Loss of earnings includes the income you would have earned had you not been out of work because of your injuries. Examples of loss of earnings in a personal injury case include, but are not limited to:
- Hourly wages
- Overtime pay
- Business income
- Freelance income
- Part-time income
- Earnings as an independent contractor
Proving a loss of earnings claim requires you to prove that your injuries prevented you from working. Therefore, prompt medical attention after an accident or injury helps build a solid case for lost wages. If the insurance company disputes your claim, we consult a medical expert for a detailed medical opinion explaining why you could not perform your work duties because of your specific injuries.
You must also prove how much you would have earned had you been able to work. Our legal team analyzes financial information to determine the value of your claim, including pay stubs, statements from your employer, tax records, income statements, and other financial documents.
We also factor in the benefits you lost because of the injury, including vacation, sick, and paid time off. The amount you lost in employer-matched retirement funds may also be included in a loss of earnings claim.
Diminished Earning Capacity Claims and Future Lost Wages
A victim may sustain an injury that results in a permanent impairment or disabling condition. The impairment could prevent the person from working in the future. Therefore, they would incur future lost wages.
Alternatively, an injury might not cause total disability but could restrict a person’s ability to perform specific tasks. In those cases, the person might experience diminished earning capacity. They can work, but their impairments prevent them from earning the same income they did before the injury.
Calculating the value of diminished earning capacity and future lost wages can be challenging. There is no standard formula for determining how much the claim is worth.
However, our legal team has extensive experience handling these types of claims. We work with leading medical specialists, economists, vocational specialists, financial professionals, and other experts to determine how the factors in your case impact the value of your future lost wages claim.
Factors used to determine how much your case is worth include:
- The type of condition you sustain and the severity of the impairment or disability
- Your skills, training, education, and experience
- The type of job or career you had before the injury
- The estimated inflation rates
- Your current age and anticipated retirement age
- The outlook for your career or job
- Whether you can perform other types of work to earn an income
Each claim for diminished earning capacity or future lost wages is unique. The value of the claim is based on the specific facts of the case.
How Does Contributory Fault Law Apply to Loss of Earnings Claims?
Most states do not bar victims from receiving damages if they are partly to blame for causing their injuries. However, they do generally allow the court to reduce the amount of compensation the person receives by level of fault. Therefore, if you are 40% to blame for causing an accident, you can only receive 60% of your damages, including the value of your loss of income.
Insurance companies aggressively fight claims for future loss of earnings. They challenge the medical evidence and valuation of lost income.
The company may try to shift some of the blame for the accident to you to reduce the amount it must pay under contributory fault. Therefore, be cautious if you deal with the insurance adjuster directly. Your comments could be used to allege you admitted to contributing to the cause of your injuries.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Loss of Earnings/Diminished Earning Capacity Claim?
A claim for diminished earning capacity or loss of earnings is part of your personal injury claim. Every state has a statute of limitations that sets time limits for filing lawsuits. You must file a lawsuit before the deadline or lose the right to pursue a court claim.
However, there are exceptions for certain kinds of cases. You could have less or more time to file a claim. Therefore, never assume you know the deadline until you speak with an attorney about your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Personal Injury Lawyers
You deserve compensation for all damages caused by a personal injury or accident, including future loss of earnings. Our legal team at Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers diligently pursues all damages to increase the amount you receive for a personal injury settlement. Call now at (602) 595-5559 or contact us online to request a free case evaluation from an experienced personal injury attorney.