Proving Lost Earning Capacity

Car Accident Attorneys Representing Residents of the Los Angeles Area

Loss of earning capacity is a type of recoverable damages that emphasizes what could have been had you not been hurt in an accident caused by someone else. Unlike future lost earnings, which must be proven with reasonable certainty under California Civil Code section 3283, lost earning capacity is a figure that represents reasonable compensation for the loss of opportunity or ability to work in a particular chosen field. If you suffered catastrophic injuries and are concerned about proving lost earning capacity, you should consult an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer.

Proving Loss of Earning Capacity

Future wage loss is a different type of damages from lost earning capacity. Under CACI No. 3903D, you need not show that your work history would almost certainly result in a particular path in order to recover damages. In fact, you can even recover damages for lost earning capacity without proving actual lost earnings. This is important for plaintiffs because in some cases, they are hurt too early in their careers to prove loss of earning capacity with as much certainty as a more established person would be able to do.

Your attorney can potentially help you recover for lost earning capacity whether you are a student or professional or close to retirement. For example, it might be possible to demonstrate that a career lost to a student due to injuries from an accident was financially more lucrative than the employment available to the plaintiff after the accident. However, each situation is different, and the age and job of a plaintiff can affect whether lost wages, lost earning capacity, or both are claimed.

Whether loss of earning capacity should be claimed is inferred from the nature of the injury and the plaintiff's particular situation. If you were 60 years old when you suffer paralysis and have been employed by the government for the past 20 years, while you were expected to retire at age 65, your future lost earnings after a catastrophic accident would be fairly certain. For another example, if you were a model who made a living through different gigs, and as a result of an accident, your face is disfigured, you will likely lose the ability to earn a living as a model in the future. Depending on the extent of the disfigurement, you may still be able to work in some other job, but it is still a loss to lose your earning capacity as a model.

Any evidence of actual earnings before or after the injury can be probative and help the jury determine whether it is reasonable for you to claim a certain amount in lost earning capacity. This can be particularly helpful for people just starting out in their careers in fields that have greater uncertainty, such as professional sports or the arts.

The goal of lost earning capacity damages is to compensate a plaintiff for an injury suffered and place them in as close a position as possible to their former job or to give a monetary value equal to it. Losing the capacity to work is considered a separate injury from actual wages lost.

In some cases, it is necessary to establish lost earning capacity with the help of expert testimony. For example, the lost earning capacity of a severely injured child is hard to determine, but a vocational and economic expert can look at sociological and statistical data, as well as the parents' occupations and educational attainment, to make a reasonable determination.

Consult a Los Angeles Attorney to Discuss Your Damages

Some injuries are so severe that an accident victim is left unable to work not just in the job where they are currently working but at any job in the future. If your injury stops you from working, you cannot earn money, which can make it challenging to pay for medical expenses or household services. You can potentially recover compensation for both lost wages and lost earning capacity arising from an accident. Proving lost earning capacity can be challenging after a crash caused by a distracted driver or another incident of carelessness. At Sharifi Firm, PLC, our experienced Los Angeles attorneys can evaluate the circumstances surrounding a motor vehicle collision. We may be able to bring a lawsuit on your behalf. Contact us at 1-866-422-7222 or via our online form. We also represent clients in Temecula, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Covina, and San Bernardino.

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