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Is reduced future earning capacity compensable in personal injury cases?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2022 | Personal Injury Law

If you have a personal injury case pending in the courts or at the negotiation table, it’s only human to wonder how much you will receive in damages if you prevail. Most litigants understand that their medical and legal bills will be deducted from any settlement they recover, but there are other, less concrete costs associated with serious personal injury cases in California.

For instance, if you are married, your spouse could also have their own claim for loss of consortium. Those claims are separate and apart from your own claim for damages, however. Let’s examine the many factors that contribute to the process of how damages get calculated in your case.

What about lost wages?

After being seriously injured in an accident, you may spend weeks, months or even years recovering and receiving therapy and other treatments. You won’t be able to work and support your family during this time. Your claim can and should include damages from past lost wages. But that might not be all you can add to your claim.

Future lost wages can also be calculated

Catastrophic injuries like amputations, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), burns and other severe conditions can render the accident victims unable to ever again be gainfully employed. This loss of earning capacity also needs to be addressed in your claim for damages and the litigation that arises from it.

These calculations are usually quite complex because projections of your earning power can fluctuate in unknown future economic conditions. Still, reasonable estimations based on known factors can be made. 

What factors are included in the calculations?

The courts look at the jobs you held and the wages you earned during your employment history. Are those skills transferrable to another job or industry in which you may be able to work post-accident? That’s another potentially mitigating factor in your damages. Others include:

  • Any promotions you received 
  • Market value projections for your position
  • Anticipated future wages due to skill or education upgrades

Considering the above, it’s easy to see why calculating future earnings can be challenging in personal injury cases. Don’t leave dollars on the table. Include all aspects of the damages you suffered to get everything that your claim deserves.