While some personal injuries may affect you for weeks or months, others could affect you for quite a long time, even the rest of your life. An injury this severe could dramatically alter your physical and cognitive capabilities, making it difficult, if not impossible, to continue the job you were doing before the accident. You may need to change careers and/or work a lot less than you did before.
If the accident and your injury was caused by another’s negligence, you can seek compensation for the resulting effect on your ability to earn an income. However, there are many factors to consider when evaluating loss of earning capacity. That is why it is best to hire an attorney to assist you in seeking compensation.
For decades, the Lafayette-based personal injury lawyers at Galloway Jefcoat have been advocating for injured victims in Louisiana, recovering compensation for their damages and losses. Our services come with no upfront fees or costs and there is no obligation to hire our firm after your initial consultation.
Call us today to learn more about the benefits of hiring a lawyer.
Defining Loss of Earning Capacity
Lost earning capacity is not the same thing as lost wages. Lost wages are the wages you lose when you cannot work during your recovery. If you reach maximum medical improvement but you still cannot work like you did before the accident, you will likely suffer a loss of your earning capacity. While lost wages are wages you were unable to earn, lost earning capacity refers to wages you have yet to have a chance to earn.
Assessing Your Loss of Earning Capacity
The value of your loss of earning capacity is based on a variety of factors unique to your injury and your employment prior to the accident. Your attorney needs to determine what you would have likely earned if the injury had never happened.
Some of the factors your attorney is likely to consider include:
- What you were earning just before the accident
- How many hours you worked before the injury
- Your salary/wage history
- Your potential for promotion and raises
- Likely earnings in your field, given your history of advancement and salary/wage increases
- Education you have received
- Job skills you have
- How long you are expected to live
- Professional certifications you have earned
- The value of your skills in the job market
- How your injury affects the ability to do the tasks involved in your job
- Your ability to do another job in the same field
- Your ability to work in a different field
To accurately assess your situation, your attorney will need detailed information about your career up to the point of your injury. Additionally, you will also need to provide medical records that explain your physical capabilities following your new injury.
While each case is unique, if you can work in some capacity, your claim for loss of earning capacity is going to be worth less than a claim for someone who cannot work at all or can work very little.
Your attorney may need to bring in a medical and/or economic expert to testify on your behalf. He or she will be able to explain and clarify why your injuries have affected your ability to work, what you can no longer do, and how this impacts your future earnings.
Victims can also take steps to help support their claim for loss of earning capacity. For example, make sure to explain to your doctor what you are no longer able to do because you suffered an injury. That way your doctors will note it in your medical records – if you do not tell your doctor, he or she may not know.
It is also vital to stick to the treatment plan and avoid activities your doctor tells you to avoid. If you do something your doctor advised against, you could worsen your injury or damage your credibility. The insurance company will consider this information when reviewing your claim for loss of earning capacity. They may want to lower your claim because they will argue you can still do things your doctors said you could not do.
What if You Were Self-Employed?
If you were self-employed before the injury, it can be a challenge to determine how much your loss of earning capacity may be worth. It is important to hire an attorney to help you.
Some of the issues that need to be considered about a self-employed person’s loss of earning capacity include:
- The size of your business
- Profits you lost since you were injured
- Tax records showing what your business earned in years past
- How your ability to participate in the business has been affected
Unsure About Your Claim? Contact Galloway Jefcoat
You may be unsure about how an attorney can assist you with your claim. You may even be unsure if you have a case. That is why you should strongly consider contacting an experienced attorney to find out how he or she may be able to help you during this difficult time.
There is no need to go through the legal process alone. Galloway Jefcoat has helped many injured victims and we are prepared to help you.
Licensed. Local. Lawyers. Call (337) 984-8020.