Loss of earnings and diminished earning capacity can be a significant portion of a personal injury settlement or jury verdict. Missing time from work after a personal injury or accident is common.
The amount of time you miss from work and whether you sustain a permanent that impacts your ability to work are factors in the value of a loss of earnings claim.
Our Naperville personal injury lawyers work to determine the correct value for your past and future lost wages. We fight to obtain the maximum amount for your personal injury claim to help you recover financially after an accident or injury.
What Are Loss of Earnings in an Illinois Personal Injury Claim?
Loss of earnings includes all income you would have earned had you been able to work after your injury. Your earnings are included in your economic damages claim. Examples of loss of earnings include, but are not limited to:
- Hourly wages
- Overtime pay
- Freelance income
- Business income
- Income from a second or part-time job
- Earnings as an independent contractor
Our attorneys work with your physicians to gather evidence proving your injuries prevented you from working. We also work with you to gather the necessary evidence to prove your total loss of income while recuperating after an accident.
What Is the Value of Loss of Earnings for a Naperville Personal Injury Claim?
The value of your lost earnings equals the amount of income you lost from the date of your injury through the date you can return to work. For example, suppose you earn a salary of $1,000 per week and are out of work for 12 weeks after a slip and fall accident. Your loss of earnings would total $12,000.
However, lost wages are not as easy to calculate in all personal injury cases. If you earn tips, commissions, or bonuses, we can argue that you should receive an amount equal to the average total you earned before the injury. Likewise, determining lost earnings could be more complex if you are self-employed because your income fluctuates.
Additionally, the loss of benefits can impact the value of a lost wages claim. You should also receive compensation for your lost vacation, paid, and sick time. You may also be entitled to compensation for the loss of other benefits related to your income, including retirement savings.
Making a Claim for Diminished Earning Capacity and Future Lost Wages
If your injuries result in a permanent impairment or disability, you could be entitled to compensation for diminished earning capacity and/or future lost wages. The type of claim depends on the severity of the disability.
For example, suppose a spinal cord injury from a car accident results in total disability. In that case, we would file a claim for all future lost wages. Typically, the value would be based on what you could have earned from the date the doctor states you reached maximum medical improvement and your retirement age.
On the other hand, suppose the spinal cord injury only results in a partial impairment. You can work, but your income is less than you earned before the injury or accident.
In that case, your claim is for diminished earning capacity. The value is the difference between what you could have earned and what you can earn, given the impairment.
Factors used to calculate future loss of earnings include, but are not limited to:
- The type and severity of the disability or impairment
- Your education, skills, and training
- Your anticipated age of retirement
- Your ability to perform any type of work that could earn income
- The economic outlook for your career or job
- The estimated inflation rate
- Missed opportunities, including promotion and pay increases
Calculating how much a claim is worth can be challenging. Our lawyers often consult various expert witnesses to assist in projecting future income losses, including medical experts, vocational specialists, economists, and financial experts.
Insurance Companies Fight Claims for Loss of Earnings and Diminished Earning Capacity
Depending on the circumstances of your case, a loss of earnings claim could total hundreds or millions of dollars in lifetime lost income. Insurance companies aggressively fight loss of income claims to reduce the amount they must pay for a personal injury claim.
For instance, an insurance adjuster might say you are partially to blame for causing an accident. If so, the company could argue that your compensation should be reduced under the Illinois contributory fault statute. If you are 51% or more at fault, you are barred from receiving any money for your claim under state law.
Before talking with an insurance company or accepting a settlement offer, talk with one of our lawyers. Do not trust the insurance company to treat you fairly, even if the claim is with your insurance provider.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Naperville Personal Injury Lawyers
Our legal team at the Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid works to protect your best interests, including maximizing your recovery for your personal injury case.
We’ll work with you to get you the money you deserve. Call our law office to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Naperville personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options after an accident.