If you’ve sustained physical injury, such as internal injuries, head injuries, neck injury, brain damage, knee injuries, partial disability, cognitive disabilities, or permanent impairments that was caused by another person's negligence or intentional misconduct you may recover financial compensation for your losses, which may include damages that cover your present and future medical treatment expenses and the loss of future earning capacity. 

Loss of earning capacity damages refers to the “difference” in lifetime earnings potential between your pre-crash self and your post-accident self. Based on your age, these financial damages could be significant. Sometimes these damages may form the largest portion of your personal injury claim. Contact our Denver personal injury attorneys today at 720-770-5454 to discuss your loss of earning capacity claim.

What Is Loss of Earning Capacity in Denver, Colorado?

Diminished earning capacity is a reduction in an injury victim's ability to earn future income because of a personal injury. This situation often arises when the bodily injury is severe and causes the injury victim to switch to a different line of work or become disabled. For example, an injured person who performed job duties that required constant lifting who suffered a severe shoulder injury, visual impairments, or leg fracture may not return to this type of work after his or her recovery. Economic damages arising from diminished earning capacity can result in financial compensation to the accident victim.  

A diminished earning capacity claim considers the financial losses that an injured person will experience until the end of their work-life expectancy. 

What is Loss of Earning Capacity?

Loss of Earning Capacity vs. Lost Income

When a person sustains accident injuries, it's common that they will lose time at work. The accident victim may have to go to the doctor for a follow-up or the emergency room during their normal work hours. Their doctor may request them not to work during a certain period of time so that their injuries can heal. The injury victim may have to use their vacation time or sick leave during this healing period. Injury victims can receive monetary compensation for these lost wages and temporary benefits depending on their age and the severity of their injury.

Loss of income refers to identifiable and specific losses, while loss of earning capacity determines the overall impact of an injury to the victim’s ability to earn a living after the accident. These are potential damages for the future. These damages haven't currently been suffered but are a projection of future damages.

Related: Colorado Injury Statute of Limitations

Why Are Diminished Earning Capacity Damages Difficult to Prove?

Typically, lost income isn't difficult to prove because accident lawyers can turn to employment records, wage rates, attendance records, and medical records to determine the missed days from work because of the injury. Loss of income may be determined by comparing attendance records and their pay stubs. The judge or jury can examine the attendance records to calculate the lost earnings.

In comparison, diminished earning capacity is more challenging to prove. To establish these financial losses, it's essential to make reasonable future predictions about the injury victim’s workability and possible future wage.

To recover any type of damages in a diminished earning capacity claim, the plaintiff, through his or her personal injury lawyer, must show that the defendant was responsible for the accident because of reckless actions. To receive compensation for loss of ability to perform job duties, the injury victim must show that the defendant’s actions caused him or her to suffer a bodily injury. 

How Do You Calculate Lost Earning Capacity?

To prove the diminished earning capacity, the injured party must prove the actual income that he or she would have earned had the injury not happened. The actual income must be proven with reasonable certainty. However, because any evidence of diminished earning capacity is speculative, it's daunting to prove the financial damages caused by lost earning capacity.

Calculating financial damages for lost income is relatively simple because it only requires an examination of work attendance records and pay stubs to establish the actual income not earned. However, calculating financial losses for the lost earning capacity is much more complicated. It requires making a prediction of the injured victim’s future career and future work ability, which may include promotions, raises, benefits, and other impacts to the potential income.

How Do You Prove Lost Future Earning Capacity?

To win a diminished earning capacity claim, a plaintiff must prove that they have a permanent impairment, which has some severe effect on their employability. The permanence could be as subtle as recurrent episodes of mental trauma or pain from a soft tissue injury or as obvious as a limb. The effect on an injured person's employment prospects need not be a present one.

This means that the claim for lost earning capacity is valid even though the injured person has incurred no economic loss as of the time of trial. When proving an injury’s effect on your employability--present or future, you must prove disability from a particular job or a general line of work. After you prove your disability from certain work, you're not compelled to show evidence of your residual earning capacity.

Contact our attorneys to ensure your claim covers loss of earning capacity

Typically, expert testimony is mandatory when proving the “permanence” of a non-obvious personal injury. Although expert testimony is crucial on the other matters that arise in the diminished earning capacity claims, including proving the remaining jobs which the injured person can do, proving the plaintiff’s disability from their present occupation; and the quantification of the loss sustained, it's not mandatory to present such evidence. Thus, once medical evidence states the plaintiff has a permanent injury, the burden of proof for the diminished earning capacity claim can be provided by the plaintiff themselves, a co-worker, or any other party who can provide a reasonable basis from which a jury or judge may render a verdict.

However, it's essential to note that the fact that expert testimony isn't always necessary doesn't mean you shouldn't consider using it. While hiring an expert involves an investment of time and money, it arguably offers an added measure of credibility to your claim. 

Having to pay for medical care expenses and repair or replace damaged property, on top of suffering the pain and sufferings of an injury, is hard enough. Being unable to earn the money to cover those expenses makes the financial burden even worse. If another person's actions have injured you, please contact the skilled Denver personal injury attorneys at DCAL for a free initial consultation at 720-770-5454.

Related: What Does A Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

After you're injured by the negligent acts of another person, your life may forever change. Personal injury victims often suffer devastating injuries that prevent them from returning to work or require them to take up a different career.

If your earning capacity has been reduced because of your injury, an experienced Denver personal injury attorney at DCAL can help you. We can determine whether you are eligible for financial compensation for present and future losses associated with the loss of earning capacity.

Our legal team works on a contingency fee basis, which means we charge no upfront fees and only get paid if your personal injury claim is successful. Contact our Denver personal injury law firm today at 720-770-5454 to schedule a no-cost initial consultation.

Text Us
menu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram