By | 2020-12-08

Every year, employees suffer nearly 3 million non-fatal workplace injuries. Add that to the millions of car accidents and you’ll potentially end up with a lot of people out of work. Depending on the circumstances, these short-term injuries can net you some compensation in court in terms of lost wages.

Of course, sometimes, the injuries prove more serious or long-term than anyone expected. In those cases, you end up with a potential loss of earning capacity.

That begs the question, what is a loss of earning capacity? Keep reading for everything you need to know.

What is a Loss of Earning Capacity?

When you get injured in an accident because of someone else or suffer an on-the-job injury, you hope you’ll recover soon. Some injures can leave you permanently disabled or incapable of carrying out the work you once did.

In these situations, you’re experiencing a loss of earning capacity. You quite literally cannot earn money the way you did before the injury.

Not all hope is lost, however. The law recognizes that this lost capacity can substantially affect your life. You can pursue compensation for the losses.

Calculating Loss of Earning Capacity

The compensation you can seek for the loss of wage earning capacity isn’t unlimited. It’s also not taken on faith by the court.

In essence, you’re must predict for the court what you might have earned that you won’t because of the injury. The calculations get complicated very fast because they might include you getting one or more promotions. Then, there are raises.

None of that accounts for the possibility of your training for another career on your own time. If the injury impairs or destroys your ability to do that new job, the figures become pure guesswork based on industry averages.

If you were thinking you might need a lawyer’s help with this, you’re right. The very beginning of the process is when to get one. They’re far better equipped to make judgments about what a court might or might not accept in terms of numbers.


At the very least, you’ll need a doctor who can testify about your loss of physical function. Ideally, the doctor who treated you will provide that testimony. If that won’t work, you may need an expert who can talk about the effects of your kinds of injuries in terms of work.

You should also plan on providing evidence of current income, as well as any evidence of your skilling up in your off time for a better job.

Loss of Earning Capacity and You

Loss of earning capacity can happen on the job or in your private life. The when and where of the injury often proves secondary to the damage caused.

If you suffered an injury that made it impossible for you to work your old job, you should contact an attorney who specializes in those types of cases. They can give you a solid opinion of whether you get compensated in court.

Looking for more info about what you should do if you get injured? Check out the posts in our Personal Injury section.

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