Calculating damages for a personal injury lawsuit often include lost wages in the total compensation amount. Lost wages can include any money the plaintiff would have earned from the date of the injury or illness until settlement has been accepted or a trial completes. However, there are instances where an attorney may also seek recovery for a plaintiff’s loss of wages and diminished future earnings – referred to as their earning capacity. If the plaintiff will have a diminished earning capacity – meaning they will earn less than they did before the accident – they may also seek compensation for that diminished earning capacity.
However, not all injury claims qualify for a loss of future earnings and lost wages. There are specific circumstances that must be present in order for a plaintiff to seek these types of damages.
Claiming Lost Wages
Lost wages are considered special damages, which includes all out-of-pocket expenses an injured plaintiff endures that are the direct result of the defendant’s negligence or actions. These are not like general damages which are more difficult to calculate since they include items like loss of consortium and pain and suffering. With lost wages or special damages, the amount lost must be proven in order to receive a monetary award.
Lost wages are easily proven, however. All it takes is providing the courts with the injured worker’s normal rate of pay – such as showing a paystub or annual tax return – and then the attorney will show the courts how the absence or injury has impacted their pay or how many days they had to take away from work to recover from their injury. Even if a person was unemployed at the time of their injury, they may qualify for lost wages. However, they must prove that they would have earned money prior to getting an injury.
Claiming a Loss of Earning Capacity
This is much more difficult to prove than lost wages, and not all claims qualify for a loss of future earnings. The plaintiff must have an injury that makes them unable to work or less able to earn money in the future. If this applies, the plaintiff can claim a loss of earning capacity and seek compensation in addition to their lost wages claim.
The amount of future earnings is harder to prove than lost wages – especially because the court will need to consider several factors when determining how much a plaintiff would have earned in his or her future. Some factors that will be considered include:
- Life expectancy
If a person is close to retirement age, they may only claim their loss of earning up to the age they were likely to retire. If, however, a person is in their mid-20s, they may qualify for a higher compensation amount because they still had 30 to 40 work years ahead of them.
Speak with a Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney – Contact De Castroverde Law Group
If you have suffered from an injury that forced you to miss work or decrease your earning potential, you need an attorney to assist you with your claim. The attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group can help calculate your future earnings as well as your lost wages to ensure you receive a fair settlement in your personal injury claim. Contact us online or call 702-222-9999 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.