How to Calculate Loss of Future Earnings in a Personal Injury Case

calculating compensation for loss of future earnings

Have you been severely injured in an accident that will impact your ability to work and earn a living going forward? Are you struggling to put a number on just how much lifetime income you stand to lose out on because of your injuries?

If so, calculating an accurate loss of future earnings figure is critical for your personal injury case and overall financial recovery. Without it, you risk potentially leaving hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of dollars on the table that you rightfully deserve.

What is Loss of Future Earnings in Personal Injury Cases?

When someone suffers a catastrophic injury due to another’s negligence, their damages often extend far beyond their immediate medical bills and lost wages. Depending on the severity, they may be unable to remain employed in their current job or field.

This is where the loss of future earnings and earning capacity comes into play. These legal damages are intended to compensate someone for the income they would have reasonably expected to earn throughout their working life had the disabling injury not occurred.

While past income is relatively simple to calculate based on pay stubs and W2s, properly projecting that number across decades requires extensive analysis of numerous factors impacting an individual’s future earnings trajectory and employment potential.

Factors Impacting Future Earnings Calculations

No two loss of future earnings claims are alike, as each case hinges on the plaintiff’s unique circumstances and realistic income prospects before the injury. Here are some of the key factors that go into these calculations:

1. Age and Remaining Work Life Expectancy

The younger someone is when they are injured, the greater their potential future earnings losses will likely be given their remaining extended work-life expectancy. Conversely, someone nearing the typical retirement age may have fewer projected losses.

2. Current Occupation and Income Level

An individual’s existing job title, salary, benefits, and bonuses are the baseline for future earnings calculations. For example, a high-earning surgeon will be evaluated much differently than an entry-level retail worker regarding presumed lifetime income potential.

3. Future Career Prospects and Earnings Potential

Past earnings alone don’t tell the full story. Our attorneys work with economic experts to project an injured person’s future earnings trajectory based on their education level, skills, growth trends in their industry, and the likelihood of promotions and raises over time.

4. Education Level and Training

The more specialized education and training someone has invested in their career field, the higher their projected future earnings – and potential losses resulting from an injury-forced career change – tend to be. From trade certifications to advanced degrees, these credentials get factored in.

Throughout this process, we aim to establish a comprehensive, credible, and data-driven earnings forecast tailored to each client’s specific circumstances. This level of specialized attention ensures we can fight for the maximum compensation that truly makes them whole.

How Loss of Future Earnings is Calculated

Determining someone’s loss of earning capacity after an injury or disability involves a few key steps:

  1. Project Lifetime Earning Potential
    • Look at the person’s past earnings history
    • Consider their education, training, and career trajectory
    • For example, if they were on a path to higher-paying management roles, factor that in
  2. Calculate Total Lost Earnings
    • Determine the amount they would have earned from the time of the injury until retirement.
    • For instance, if the analysis shows $75,000 per year over 30 years, that’s $2,250,000 in lost earnings.
  3. Subtract Actual Earnings
    • Deduct any money the person has earned since the accident
    • For example, if they found a $50,000 per year job, that offsets $750,000 of the projected losses
    • This gives us the net loss of earning capacity to be compensated

The team at Pasternack Injury Law Group has extensive experience calculating these kinds of damages. We’ll work closely with you to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you’re entitled to for the true financial impact of your injury.

Strategies for Maximizing Future Earnings Compensation

Even with airtight calculations and economic evidence, maximizing the amount you’re awarded often requires skilled advocacy and negotiation by an experienced injury attorney, including:

  • Meticulous documentation and record-keeping
  • Retaining vocational and earnings experts to deliver authoritative testimony
  • Identifying potential career path changes or impact on family businesses
  • Employing negotiation tactics to counter insurance company pushback

The goal is building an unimpeachable body of evidence so insurers can’t reasonably dispute the scope and logic behind your future earnings claims.

When to Seek Legal Representation

Because of their complexity, cases involving significant loss of future earnings or diminished earning capacity warrant consulting a skilled personal injury lawyer from the very start.

Income losses compounded over decades lead to astronomical totals that require legal advocacy and evidentiary expertise to properly value and pursue. Simply put, these claims are some of the most high-stakes personal injury matters, as the outcome directly impacts the rest of someone’s financial life post-accident.

Our Pasternack Injury Law Group team has the specialized knowledge, economic resources, and proven track record of maximizing these challenging, detail-intensive claims to recover every dollar our clients are owed.

Get a Free Consultation for Your Lost Earnings Claim

If you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic injury, claiming the full loss of future earnings you’re owed is essential for long-term financial stability. These losses can stretch into the millions, even for someone beginning their career.

With so much at stake, having an ally in your corner who understands the nuances of these claims inside and out is invaluable. At Pasternack Injury Law Group, our personal injury attorneys have spent decades developing unparalleled expertise in this complex area of damages calculations.

Don’t try to navigate these waters alone. Let us provide a free, no-obligation review of your overall case, focusing on maximizing your loss of future earnings claims under California law.

Your future financial security is too important to leave money on the table. Contact our office today by calling or visiting us online. There’s no risk in discussing your legal options – only the opportunity to finally get the full compensation you deserve.

Author Bio

Barry A. Pasternack

Barry Pasternack brings over three decades of legal experience to his role as the founding attorney at Pasternack Injury Law Group. He holds a J.D. from the esteemed California Western School of Law in San Diego, California, and has been a member of the California State Bar since 1988. Located in downtown San Diego, Barry’s practice serves clients throughout the San Diego region, providing comprehensive guidance and representation.

Barry’s commitment to his clients is unwavering, and your initial consultation is always free of charge. You only pay attorney’s fees when he successfully recovers compensation on your behalf. When you choose Barry Pasternack, you’re selecting a skilled legal professional who will tirelessly fight for your rights and work diligently to help you on your path to recovery.

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