Can I Recover for my Future Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Claim

Past lost wages are generally a straightforward matter.

In a serious personal injury action, though, the injured person's future earnings must be considered.

This occurs in two ways. If that injured person will incapacitated for a period of time after the trial, and was working prior to the injury, a reasonable measure of damages is the average wage earned prior to the incapacity, projected over the length of the incapacity. "In an action for personal injuries, a plaintiff may recover for loss of future earnings which will reasonably and probably result from the tort. Monias v. Endal, 330 Md. 274, 623 A.2d 656 (Md., 1992). Alternatively, "[a] tort victim suing for damages for permanent injuries is permitted to base his recovery on his prospective earnings for the balance of his life expectancy at the time of his injury undiminished by any shortening of that expectancy as a result of the injury." Sea-Land Services, Inc. v. Gaudet, 414 U.S. 573, 595, 94 S.Ct. 806, 819, 39 L.Ed.2d 9, 26 (1974).

 

What if the person is not working at the time of the injury, or, has just started a new career that is expected to yield income, but has not yet? Consider that this person cannot any longer work in that new field because of their injuries. That is a different type of claim.

A loss of earning capacity claim is different than a claim for a loss of future wages claim. 

"There is a distinction between loss of earnings and loss of earning capacity. A person is entitled to compensation for the lost capacity to earn, whether he would have chosen to exercise it or not. Most courts which have discussed the subject have held that it is not necessary to show either the plaintiff's earnings prior to the injury or decrease in earnings after the injury in order to establish the fact of loss of earning capacity." Monias v. Endal, 330 Md. 274, 623 A.2d 656 (Md., 1992) How does one prove what their "earning capacity" is? "Essentially, an accident victim is entitled to be compensated to the extent his or her power to work in an activity that produces income has been reduced by the injury. There is no fixed rule by which the amount of damages for diminution or impairment of earning capacity may be definitively measured. Instead, all relevant facts on the issue must be considered. The prevailing proper measure of lost earning capacity is the difference between the amount that the plaintiff was capable of earning before his injury and that which he is capable of earning thereafter. Essentially, the plaintiff must establish the disparity between the market value of his services before and after the injury." Anderson v. Litzenberg, 694 A.2d 150, 115 Md.App. 549 (Md. App., 1996). 

Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Personal Injury Case?

Some states require advisory language to appear in lawyer advertisements that reads “the hiring of a lawyer is an important decision”. Nothing could be closer to the truth. Hiring the right attorney is perhaps the most...

How long will my personal injury case take?

It’s the third most frequent question in my business. Like the other two: “Do I have a case”, and “How much is my case worth”, the answer depends on any number of variables. Even though the answer is going to vary from...

Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage

What is uninsured motorist coverage? Uninsured Motorist coverage is considered “first party” insurance. Like health, or perhaps disability insurance, it is your insurance. You pay the premiums You have a policy with your insurance...

When Can the Police Search Me or My Car

There are limits on what they police can and cannot do. The Constitution, and, in this instance, the Fourth Amendment, provides an important buffer of protection between citizens, and the power of the State. We are all guaranteed the right to be...

How much is an average personal injury settlement?

Every personal injury clients asks, understandably, “what is the value of my case?” The second question, invariably, and appropriately, is “what do I get in my pocket?” The first question, frankly, is a difficult question to...

what-prove-win-personal injury-trial

We’ve seen that the plaintiff has the obligation of carrying the day in a car accident or negligence case. In law school, the burden of proof is sometimes discussed as being a both an obligation to produce sufficient supportive evidence, and...

Insurance coverage and the out-of-state car accident

Maryland law provides that polices issued to Maryland residents must provide at least 30,000 in liability insurance coverage. [i.e. to pay for someone loss or damage in the event you hit and injure them] Maryland law also provides that if the...

Black ice and personal injury lawsuits.

The American Meteorological Society tells us black ice is “a popular alternative for glaze. A thin sheet of ice, relatively dark in appearance, may form when light rain or drizzle falls on a road surface that is...

Ice, parking lots, sidewalks and personal injury cases

The owner of person in control of property owes a variable duty to protect people on that property from harm. The responsibility depends on the class of individual assigned under the law. The law recognizes four classes of people who could be...
Request a FREE Consultation:
* Indicates required questions
Name *
First
Last
Email *
Phone # *
Case Type *
Describe Your Case *