Everyone’s workers’ compensation benefits are unique. Many different factors determine how one will be compensated in the face of a workers’ compensation lawsuit. Some of these factors may be concrete, making them easy to calculate. For example, lost past wages or medical bills are generally straightforward. Other forms of compensation, however, may be less clear or defined, requiring involvement and negotiations with courts and insurance companies. One such element is the risk of losing future income or earning capacity.
Each state’s Worker’s Compensation Laws are different. Certain states stipulate that if the employee’s ability to acquire future earnings is affected by a work-related injury, that loss can be addressed through a lost earning capacity claim to benefits.
What Is “Impairment of Earning Power”?
Also referred to as “lost earning capacity”or “future loss of earning”, Impairment of Earning Power refers to a situation where an employee has been injured on the job. As a result, this employee may be unable to earn the same type of income that they would have prior to the injury.
Before proceeding, these cases must address:
- How would the person’s career have proceeded had he/she never been injured in this capacity?
- How will this injury affect the person’s ability to earn income in the future?
Regardless of how simple it may sound, the process of determining potential loss of future wages is complicated. A clear picture of future loss can often not be provided by simply multiplying wages. Everyone experiences career growth differently; for some, that includes developing new skills or talents that could lead to an increase in pay, raises, promotions, and more. Sustaining a workplace injury could impair this progression and halt one’s professional progress.
Compensation Cases Involving Lost Earning Capacity
Various factors can affect an individual’s earning capacity in a workers’ compensation case. Lost earning capacity must be address as fairly as possible when settling such cases. The following considerations must be included when evaluating a workers’ compensation case as it relates to the potential loss of earnings:
- Injury-related loss of earnings
- Former job-related loss of ability
- Injury-related functional impairment
- Pre-and post-injury earnings
- Physical capacity, emotional, and intellectual capacity to learn
and execute another type of work
- Work experience
- Length of recovery
- Injured body part
- Current medical condition
- Post-injury medical condition
- Pre-injury medical condition
Expert witness testimony and/or corroborating documents may be required to support employee/employer claims involving the factors listed above.
Lost Earning Capacity and Your Future
How will your future be impacted by lost earning capacity? While the future is uncertain, it becomes even more challenging for those who are unable to make a full recovery after a serious job-related injury. It is therefore essential that courts and insurance companies realize the full impact an injury can or will have on an employee and/or their family.
The purpose of lost earning capacity benefits is to provide security for the future of injured employees. Because insurance companies and employers often disagree on the risk imposed an injured employees’ futures, it is imperative that employees acquire trustworthy legal representation to protect their rights.
Cardinal Law Partners for Workers’ Compensation Cases
Cardinal Law Partners has represented countless workers from all walks of life in workers compensation cases. If you were injured on the job, you deserve a knowledgeable, established, experienced workers’ compensation attorney to defend your rights.
Contact us today for a free consultation.