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How Personal Injury Earning Capacity Works

When someone suffers personal injury in an accident, their capacity to work and earn a living will be affected. Proving and calculating lost earnings is difficult, but it is an important part of a claim. This is where vocational personally injury experts step in.

Read our guide below for an overview of the personal injury earning capacity process.

What is lost earning capacity?

Lost earning capacity is a limitation on an individual’s capacity to earn an income due to personal injury. This occurs when an injury is very severe and results in a disability. This is especially relevant if the injury required the individual to change careers.

Lost earning capacity can also come into play when the injury requires the individual to take significant time off work. Compensatory damages are awarded for the economic losses the victim will suffer until the end of their career.

What about lost wages due to personal injury?

Loss of earning capacity is distinct from wages lost as a result of an injury. After an injury, it is common for the victim to lose time from work as they recover and attend medical appointments.

A victim will have to use their sick leave or vacation time in these instances but there are some compensations available. Lost wages differ from lost earning capacity because lost wages are based on specific losses. Lost earning capacity tries to identify the impact on the victim’s ability to earn following the injury.

Loss of earning capacity is difficult to prove.

To determine lost wages, you look at employment records and identify the number of missed workdays. You cannot do this for loss of earnings. To calculate the loss of earning capacity we must make predictions about the victim’s future working capacity and potential earnings.

Further, to receive any type of compensation in a personal injury case, one will need to prove the defendant was responsible via negligent actions.

Calculating loss of earning capacity.

The most common evidence used to prove the loss of earning capacity is expert witness testimony. An expert witness will review work history and make estimates about likely future earnings before and after the accident.

This vocational legal expert will consider education, experience, skills, and how one might perform in other jobs. They will also consider the current and future market values and wages and salaries.

The compensatory damages received for loss of earnings will represent the difference between one’s estimated future earnings, before and after the injury.

Reach out to a vocational expert for more guidance.

Suffering a personal injury from an accident can have life-changing implications. One’s ability to work and earn a living is a significant factor to be aware of when recovering from injury.

Consider contacting a vocational expert to learn more. At Solutions Northwest Inc., we can help you find a vocational expert or give you general vocational consulting. Our vocational experts are involved in personal injury, workers’ compensation, and family law.

If you need our guidance, our legal experts are ready to guide you through the process.

Contact us today to make an appointment.

Contact the Vocational Consultants at Solutions Northwest Inc. Below:

Multiple Locations

Corporate Office: 120 State Ave. NE #397
Olympia, WA 98501
Business Hours: 8am-5pm M-F
Corporate FAX: 360-866-4773

Seattle, WA


Olympia, WA


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