Accidents can happen just about anywhere and can cause havoc with our personal lives and the lives of our families. A traffic accident on one of Kentucky’s interstates, a slip-and-fall at a grocery store, or medical malpractice can leave you with a stack of hospital bills and rehabilitation costs and perhaps no way to pay them.
An accident can rob you of valuable paychecks while you are out of work. Hopefully, these expenses and losses won’t be your concern once you file an insurance claim and get the support you need to recover.
But what if you aren’t back to work when it’s time to work out a settlement with the insurance provider for the at-fault party? Can you be compensated for the work hours you are expected to miss in the years to come?
The Difference Between Lost Wages and Lost Earning Capacity in Kentucky
After victims are injured in an accident, it’s common for them to receive reimbursement for hours they’ve missed at work while recovering. Pay stubs can be added up for each week the injured victim is out and a total is easy to add up. This total of Lost Wages gets presented to the insurance company and is usually compensated.
Lost Earning Capacity differs from lost wages and considers what may happen in the future. Lost earning capacity comes into play when a victim has injuries that aren’t healed at the time of an insurance settlement. Injuries may be severe and even expected to be permanent and may keep a victim out of work for months to come or even for a lifetime.
Victims shouldn’t be left without the means to support themselves and their families when an injury has left them unable to perform their previous job. This can be a temporary condition or it may go on for years. In these cases, insurance companies must be held accountable no matter the length of time a victim will be away from work.
How Lost Earning Capacity Affects an Injury Settlement
Determining how long you will be out of work in the future and how much in earnings you stand to lose can be hard to calculate. This makes insurance claims or lawsuits involving lost earning capacity more complex than a standard accident case where the victim completes a full recovery in a few weeks.
Insurance companies won’t want to provide a large sum to cover your care and financial support over a lifetime if there’s a chance you could heal in a few years and be able to return to work.
There are formulas and equations that can be used in figuring how much a person can earn over their working years and how much they may miss out on due to an injury caused by someone else’s negligence.
These are just a few of the employment factors that can be considered when determining how much a victim stands to lose in the years ahead:
- Overtime, Commissions, and Bonuses.
- Annual Cost of Living Raises.
- Vacation and Sick Days.
- Retirement funds, pensions, and company 401K contributions.
Other Factors Considered in a Kentucky Lost Earnings Capacity Cases
An award of future lost earnings must take into account inflation over the coming years. Raises and promotions that would have been earned at work should also factor into any calculation of what is a fair lost earnings capacity settlement for the victim.
In the case of a permanent disability, victims may never be able to return to their previous employers and complete a full shift or even a part-time shift. The victim will need support over a lifetime.
Injured victims may be expected to change careers once they are able to take on new physical challenges. This may reduce the money earned in a lost earnings capacity case, but it also requires different kinds of compensation.
Victims can ask for money to pay for counseling and training for a career change. This may include college enrollment and certification costs. Renovations in the home or the office may also be required for the victim to be able to handle the duties of a new job.
Medical equipment may also be necessary to enable the victim to enjoy enough freedom of mobility to perform new job functions. This equipment should be replaced or updated often and those costs can also earn compensation.
Lost Earnings Capacity and Retirement
In regards to retirement, juries usually don’t award future lost earnings calculated beyond the normal retirement age.
However, a retirement plan may be part of an insurance settlement if the victim can no longer contribute to a work-funded or individual retirement account. Money should be provided to make up for the 401(K) or IRA deposits the victim is unable to make.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Serving Victims Across Kentucky
If you have been seriously hurt in an accident and your ability to earn a living is threatened, make sure you don’t face these physical and financial challenges alone. Insurance companies are happy to leave you in the dark about what’s available to you as a victim of someone’s carelessness. A skilled Kentucky Personal Injury Attorney will make sure you know your rights and then ensure those rights are respected.
When you have questions about how you will support yourself and your family after a serious accident, contact Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, for a free case consultation session. This informational session comes with no obligation to you. Our goal is to make sure you are informed of everything an insurance company can be held responsible for after you’ve had your ability to work taken away in a tragic accident.