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Personal Injury Loss of Future Income When Unemployed at Time of Injury

Karns & Kerrison

If you are injured as a result of a personal injury case, even if you are unemployed, you should review your particular situation with the lawyer representing you as you may still be eligible for loss of future income. Karns & Kerrison is extremely experienced in representing victims involved in personal injury cases for all types of damages, including loss of future income.

In contrast to claims for lost wages, a plaintiff may recover damages for impairment of earning capacity even though he was unemployed at the time of the accident. The proper measure of damages to be recovered for impairment of earning capacity is the difference between what the plaintiff, if uninjured, would have been capable of earning before the accident and what he is capable of earning after the accident. See D'Andrea v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 109 R.I. 479, 489, 287 A.2d 629, 634 (1972).

Although proof of lost wages may be introduced as evidence of impaired earning capacity, a plaintiff is not required to show such lost wages in order to recover for impairment of earning capacity, nor is the amount of the lost wages necessarily controlling in determining the amount to be awarded. Reilly v. United States, 863 F.2d 149, 167 (1st Cir. 1988).

Damages for impairment of earning capacity compensate a plaintiff for his decreased earning capacity, from the date of the injury to the projected end of the plaintiff's disability. See Floyd v. Turgeon, 68 R.I. 218, 232, 27 A.2d 330, 337 (1942).

Plaintiff need not, as prerequisite to recovery for loss of future wage earning capacity, prove that in the near future he or she will earn less money than he or she would have but for injury; rather, plaintiff must show that injury has caused diminution in ability to earn living. Wilburn v. Maritrans GP Inc., 139 F.3d 350 (3d Cir. 1998).

In order to recover damages for loss of earning capacity, the plaintiff need not be working or even in a certain profession to recover; what is being compensated is his lost ability to earn such an amount and he may recover such damages even though he may never have taken advantage of that capacity. D'Ambrosia v. Lang, 985 So. 2d 800 (La. Ct. App. 5th Cir. 2008).


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If you or your loved one suffered severe, life-altering injuries due to someone else’s negligence, we are here to help you fight for justice. For answers to your questions or to schedule a free consultation, contact our personal injury team at (888) 281-3100. We offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay attorneys’ fees after we have recovered compensation on your behalf.

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