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What is Loss of Earning Capacity?

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Personal Injury


If you are injured in an accident, you may be unable to work for a long period of time. When calculating your losses, you should consider not only income you have lost up to that point, but also any future lost income. If you expect to be out of work for a certain period of time, or even if you expect to have significant medical treatment that will result in your being away from work, you should consider future income potential.

If you have been injured in an accident and feel you have a loss of earning capacity, you deserve compensation. Contact an experienced Chicago injury attorney at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. to find out how we can help you obtain the maximum compensation for your losses.

Call us today at (312) 236-2900.

What is Loss of Earning Capacity?

Loss of earning capacity is your ability to earn income in the future. Your earning capacity may be impacted after an accident by physical limitations, disfigurement, and ongoing medical treatment. Your physical limitations may prevent you from performing the same work, but the need for continuous medical treatment may also prevent you from being eligible for bonuses, promotions, and other work-related items that impact your earnings.

Lost Earning Capacity Impacts Future Income

Lost earning capacity is different than lost income in the sense that it is forward looking and for the rest of your expected lifetime, not for a specific period of time that already happened. Your reduced earning capacity is the difference between what you were able to earn over the course of your life prior to the accident and the lower amount you are now capable of earning due to your injuries.

For example, as a truck driver, you may have made $40,000 per year, with an expectation that it would rise to up to $55,000 in later years. However, if your injuries leave you unable to consistently operate a big rig, you may now be looking at a position that only pays $30,000 a year, with an expectation of making no more than $45,000 over the years.

Proving Loss of Earning Capacity

Your attorney will have to prove a number of elements to gain damages for reduced earning capacity, including that your injury was permanent or long-term and that it effected your capabilities and employment opportunities. Your lawyer may attempt to prove you can no longer work a specific position, such as your truck driving job. Or, your attorney may try to prove that you can no longer perform a general type or class of activity, such as any work that requires a prolonged period of sitting or heavy lifting.

To demonstrate your previous and current earning capacities, you will need expert witnesses. Your physician or expert medical witnesses can testify as to your altered capabilities, which make you unable continue working your previous job or a comparable one. A vocational specialist can discuss the work you are capable or not capable of performing. Additionally, an economist or accountant can discuss your previous and current earning capacities based on your former and current capabilities.

Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer for Help

If you suffered serious injuries in an accident that was someone else’s fault, the effects of those injuries can be long-lasting. If you expect to have a loss of earning capacity to impact you for years to come, we can help you obtain compensation to cover those losses.

Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (312) 236-2900.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900