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When You or A Loved One Has Suffered a Massachusetts Personal Injury That Prevents You From Working, You May Be Entitled to Substantial Money Damages For Lost Earning Capacity Damages. Call Our Boston Accident Lawyer Specialists 24/7 at 617-787-3700 or Email Our Boston Lawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although Massachusetts law does not permit personal injury plaintiffs to recover for lost wages directly – in other words, you cannot recover for the wages or salary you lost while you were recuperating from your bodily injuries in the hospital – you can recover for what is known as lost earning capacity under Massachusetts personal injury law. Lost earning capacity is defined as the decrease in your ability to earn wages or salary that was caused by a defendant’s negligence. When personal injuries are serious, lost earning capacity damages can amount to significant money damages.
For example, if you are a professional quarterback for a team in the NFL and a defendant negligently paralyzes your throwing hand, you have basically lost your ability to earn a living as a professional quarterback. You are thus entitled to recoup fair and just money damages for your loss. It is not necessary for you to have been gainfully employed at the time of your injury in order to recover for the value of your lost earning capacity – you just need to demonstrate that you have had your ability to earn a living impaired by the defendant’s negligence.
Call Our Boston Accident Lawyer Professionals 24/7 at 617-787-3700 When You Have Sustained a Massachusetts Personal Injury. The Boston Lawyers at Our Massachusetts Accident Injuries Law Office Are Experts in Maximizing the Money Compensation that You Recover For Your Lost Earning Capacity Damages.
To recover for lost earning capacity damages, you will need to introduce enough evidence to permit the jury or judge to make a rational calculation of: 1) the extent or impairment of your lost earning capacity, and 2) the fair monetary value of that impairment. In short, you have to show the difference between your earning abilities both before and after the accident, and what that difference is worth monetarily. The issues focus on your earning ability, not the earning ability of another person in a similar line of employment. For example, let us assume that our professional quarterback was as skilled as Tom Brady. Contrast that quarterback with a back-up from an inferior NFL team. Clearly, the Tom Brady caliber quarterback’s loss of his throwing arm causes damages that are a lot more – perhaps many millions of dollars more – than the damages caused by a similar injury to a back-up quarterback for an inferior football team. An employer’s willingness to hire you back after your recovery might decrease the fair value of your money damages, but it will not bar you completely from recovering lost earning capacity damages.
Future lost earning capacity is also something you can recover fair monetary compensation for, and the calculation of those money losses can involve a condition or injury that further decreases your earning ability over time. Additionally, because money now is worth more than monetary compensation later – for example, most people would happily accept $30,000 now rather than wait 25 years for $35,000 – the jury will also have to decrease your future lost earning capacity monetary damages to their present monetary value. Even so, if your lost earning capacity is significant and you expect your losses to last well into the future, your money damages can total in the millions of dollars, depending on the particular facts and circumstances of your case.
Lost earning capacity is calculated with respect to your earning capacity at the time of the accident that caused your injury. This means that if you made $20 per hour at the time you were injured, but expected that your wages would increase to $50 per hour in thirty years, your lost earning capacity damages would not take your future expectations into account. This is because frankly, it is virtually impossible for a jury to know how much money you will be earning in the future. Instead, the jury considers the $20 amount you were earning at the time of the accident and then decides how much of that $20 per hour you are now unable to earn due to your bodily injuries.
Unemployed personal injury plaintiffs can run into particular difficulties when trying to establish lost earning capacity. As previously mentioned, you do not have to be employed to recover for your lost earning capacity. However, finding a relevant benchmark for calculating your lost earning capacity damages can be fairly complex if you were not employed at the time of your injury. What if you were unemployed for the five years before your accident, did nothing but outdoor rock climbing in the meantime, and suffered a series of unrelated serious injuries while climbing that negatively impaired your earning capacity? The jury will frequently use the last wages you earned as a benchmark, but the jury will be instructed to decrease the amount to be awarded by the lost earning capacity resulting from your climbing injuries because they are unrelated. This way, the negligent defendant does not pay for earning capacity that he or she did not cause you to lose.
Self-employed Massachusetts injury victims also face a harder task when it comes to showing the amount of their lost earning capacity. Can the owner of a restaurant, who also acts as a general manager, recover for any lost revenues that the restaurant failed to bring in while the restaurant owner was recovering from negligently-caused personal injuries? The answer is almost certainly no. That is because the owner’s managerial skills, abilities and talents are not the essential and dominant factor behind the restaurant’s earnings. Restaurants earn money due to a multiplicity of factors, including marketing, cooks, the wait service and the restaurant’s menu selection. It therefore is far from clear that the restaurant would be unable to run well without the manager, and estimating what portion of any lost revenues resulted from the owner’s absence is considered to be mere speculation under Massachusetts law. For all the jury knows, those economic losses could have been caused by an economic recession or improper cooking, and not the owner’s absence.
On the other hand, a doctor who has a small private practice will most likely be able to recover for revenues lost while recuperating from personal injuries arising from another person’s negligence because the doctor is the essential and key factor behind the private practice’s obtaining revenues, without whom the private practice makes no revenue. Unlike the restaurant owner’s revenue losses, which are speculative, the physician’s losses are much more clearly attributable to the loss or impairment of the physician’s medical skills.
If Your Massachusetts Personal Injury Has Prevented You From Working at Your Job, Our Boston Accident Lawyer Advocates May Be Able to Recover Substantial Lost Earning Capacity Damages For You. Our Boston Lawyers Are Always Available 24/7 at 617-787-3700. Call Us Today. Your Needs Are Our Top Priority!
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