What is Lost Earning Capacity?

Lost earning capacity is the effect on your ability to earn a living. You can still work, but you are not able to make as much money as before. The person who caused your injury might have to pay you for this loss.

What Might Constitute Lost Earning Capacity

Here are some examples of diminished earning capacity:

  • You can no longer perform the same kind of work that you did before the accident. For instance, because of a back injury from a car accident, you can no longer lift heavy objects, which means that you cannot do the tasks your warehouse job requires. You have to look for a different line of work.
  • You can still work at your job, but you cannot work as many hours as you did before the injury. Let’s say that you worked a full-time job prior to your injury. After recuperation, you are able to return to the same job, but because of the pain involved with your injury, you can only work 25 hours a week.
  • You have to switch to a different position because of the injury. For example, you used to work a lucrative sales job that required you to be on your feet all day. Because of the injury, you are unable to be on your feet for long periods of time. Your boss offered you a clerical job where you could sit at a desk to work, but the clerical position paid less than the sales job.

Long-term or Permanent Impairment

It is common to need some time to recuperate and get your strength back after an injury. A short-term decrease in your earnings belongs in the category of lost wages, not lost earning capacity. You can still get compensation for the loss, but the impairment is temporary.

To get compensation for lost earning capacity, the injury must affect your ability to earn income for a long time or permanently. For example:

Temporary impairment: a salesperson at a car dealership breaks her leg and has to stay off of her feet for a few months until the fracture heals and she completes physical therapy. During that recuperation time, she works at a lower-paying position at the dealership. She has a claim for lost wages.

Permanent impairment: a salesperson at a car dealership fractures her back in a car accident. After the injury heals as much as it is going to, she experiences chronic pain when she is on her feet for more than a few minutes. The orthopedic surgeon expects the situation to get worse as the patient gets older. The worker has to take a lower-paying job so that she can sit while she works. She has a claim for lost earning capacity.

Decreased Earning Capacity

The injury must cause a decrease in your earning potential.

Let’s say that a construction worker could no longer perform physically demanding labor on job sites after a severe injury. His employer offered him a management position that paid more than the labor job. The worker has not suffered a decrease in his earning potential.

On the other hand, if the worker had a high-paying job that he could no longer perform because of the injury, he might have to take a job that pays less money. In that situation, he has a claim for lost earning capacity.

How We Prove Diminished Earning Ability

Our injury lawyer will prove that the at-fault party’s negligence caused your injury and that the injury adversely affected your ability to earn as much money as you did before or took some career options away from you. We might have to hire experts to show the jury that you deserve compensation for deceased earning potential. Some of the experts we can use in these cases include:

Medical experts who can testify about the severity and permanence of your injury, such as your regular doctor or a specialist, like an orthopedic surgeon or a neurologist.

Economic experts to explain to the judge how the impairment will affect your future earnings.

Vocational experts can connect your injuries to specific job skills and let the judge know how the impairment will affect your current job or restrict your future career choices. Some of these experts can also calculate the dollar amount of the anticipated diminished earning capacity.

Call S. Burke Law Today for Help with an Injury Claim: 404-842-7838

We realize that the issues surrounding lost earning capacity can be difficult to comprehend, but you do not have to worry about that. We will be happy to answer your questions. Just call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838, and we will arrange a free consultation with you. There is no obligation.