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Calculating lost future earnings in a personal injury claim

Robert F. Spohrer

Like the rest of the states, Florida’s personal injury laws divide the types of damages plaintiffs can seek into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include harms caused by the negligent party that have clear financial consequences, such as medical bills and lost wages.

Someone who suffered severe injuries could have been forced to stop working for weeks or months between the time of their trauma and the time their claim ends up in court or gets settled. This lost income is a legitimate type of damage for which you can seek compensation. But a disabling personal injury’s effects are not necessarily confined to the past. Thus, in Florida, you can pursue compensation for lost future earnings too.

Calculating lost future earning capacity

Of course, calculating lost future wages is not as simple as showing how much you, as the victim of negligence, have lost in earnings since you were injured. We must figure out what you would reasonably could have expected to earn in the future had you not suffered your injuries. This is known as “lost future earning capacity.”

Everyone’s future earning capacity is different, based on factors like:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Earning history
  • The extent of the injuries
  • The plaintiff’s current ability to compete in the job market

The dollar figure a judge or jury arrives at will be reduced to consider the taxes the plaintiff would have paid, as well as an anticipated rate of return on the award over the ensuing years or decades.

Reaching a fair result in lost future earnings is typically a complicated process. Experienced personal injury attorneys understand what it takes to help their clients get reasonable compensation for the harm to their earning power.