If you are out of work because of an accident or injury, you could be entitled to reimbursement for your lost wages. You could also receive compensation for future loss of income. Loss of earnings and diminished earning capacity are included in economic damages for a Louisiana personal injury claim.
Our Lafayette personal injury lawyers can document your loss of earnings and utilize other evidence to calculate the accurate value of your income loss. Then, we fight to obtain that amount as part of your personal injury settlement or jury verdict.
What Are Loss of Earnings for a Louisiana Personal Injury Case?
Loss of earnings refers to any lost income you incur because of your accident or injury. Examples of loss of earnings include, but are not limited to:
- Hourly wages
- Overtime pay
- Part-time income
- Business income
- Freelance income
- Earnings as an independent contractor
You must prove that your injuries prevented you from working to recover compensation for loss of earnings. Additionally, you must prove how much you would have earned had you been able to work.
In addition to the actual income you lost, you might also receive reimbursement for the loss of benefits. Benefits can include sick, vacation, and paid time off you would have earned had you been able to work and/or used because of the accident. Loss of benefits may also include the benefits related to your income that your employer might have paid, such as matching retirement contributions.
Claims for Future Lost Wages and Diminished Earning Capacity
When an accident or injury results in a disability or impairment, it might prevent you from working in the future. If you are able to return to work, your impairment might prevent you from earning the same amount you did before the accident. In these cases, victims may be entitled to compensation for future loss of earnings.
Future lost wages are the total amount you would have earned had you not been injured. Diminished earning capacity is the difference between the amount of income you would have earned and the amount of income you can earn, given the limitations of your impairment.
Calculating the value of future lost earnings and diminished earning capacity can be challenging. First, there must be medical evidence proving that your injuries impact your ability to work in the future. Second, we must establish how much you would have earned had you been able to continue working as you did before the accident.
Generally, we gather evidence from medical specialists, vocational experts, financial professionals, and other expert witnesses to calculate the value of future earnings. Factors used to determine the value of future loss of income include, but are not limited to:
- The severity and type of disability or impairment
- Your current age and the anticipated age of retirement
- The economic outlook for your job or career
- Your training, skills, experience, and education
- The estimated rate of inflation
- The opportunities you missed, such as promotions, raises, and more
- Your ability to perform other types of work that could earn income
Each claim is based on the specific circumstances and factors relevant to that person’s situation. The goal is to maximize the value of your claim by providing solid supporting evidence that substantiates the projections by experts for your future loss of earnings.
Insurance Companies Use Contributory Fault and Other Tactics To Avoid Liability
Depending on the facts of your case, a claim for future lost wages could total hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. The insurance company will take whatever steps available to avoid paying the full amount of your claim. They will hire experts of their own to challenge the evidence we provide.
Additionally, the insurance company might use contributory fault to reduce the value of your claim. Louisiana’s comparative fault law does not automatically bar you from receiving compensation for a claim if you are partially to blame for causing your injury.
However, if you are partly at fault, your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault. For instance, if a jury finds you are 40% at fault for a car accident, you would only receive 60% of the value of your damages.
It can be in your best interest to avoid discussing your claim or injuries with an insurance adjuster or other person representing the other side. Instead, allow your lawyer to handle communications for you to avoid making a statement that could be intentionally misinterpreted as admitting fault.
How Long Do I Have To File a Loss of Earnings/Diminished Earning Capacity Claim?
The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases in Louisiana is one year, with very few exceptions. The court can dismiss the case when the lawsuit is filed after the statute of limitations expires.
Protect your right to pursue a court case by talking with a Lafayette personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident or injury.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Lafayette Personal Injury Lawyer
Loss of income can make up a substantial portion of some personal injury claims. Our lawyer at Kenny Habetz Injury Law works to maximize the amount you receive for your losses. Call today at (337) 202-8932 to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Lafayette personal injury attorney.