Loss of Earnings/Diminished Earning Capacity

Loss of earnings and diminished earning capacity are damages in a personal injury case. These financial losses are included in economic damages. They represent the earnings and income an injured party loses because of another party’s intentional torts, negligence, and wrongful acts.

Understanding how the loss of earnings and diminished earning capacity can impact your personal injury claim is crucial. 

What Can I Include in a Chicago Personal Injury Claim for Loss of Earnings?

What Can I Include in a Chicago Personal Injury Claim for Loss of Earnings?

Your damages for loss of earnings include income from any source you would have earned had you not been injured. 

Loss of earnings include, but are not limited to:

  • Hourly wages
  • Overtime pay
  • Salary
  • Commissions
  • Bonuses
  • Tips
  • Part-time, freelance, and gig work
  • Income from working as an independent contractor
  • Business income

The value of a loss of earnings claim is the total of all income you lost because of your injuries. Therefore, if you earn a salary and miss three months of work, the value of your loss of earnings claim would be the total of three months of salary.

However, if your income is hourly or fluctuates, calculating the value of loss of earnings is more complicated. We can calculate an average of what you have earned in the past, which can provide a base for calculating what you would have earned had you been able to work. In some cases, a financial expert may help determine how much a loss of earnings claim is worth.

Filing Claims for Future Lost Wages and Diminished Earning Capacity in a Chicago Personal Injury Case 

If you sustain a permanent impairment or injury, it may prevent you from working. You can seek compensation for future lost wages, including all income you would have earned had it not been for the accident. However, estimating future lost wages can be challenging. 

Financial experts use many factors to determine how much a person would have been able to earn if they had kept working, including the following:

  • The type of impairment you sustained
  • The severity and level of the impairment
  • The ability to perform another job
  • Your education, skills, training, and experience
  • Your current age and age at retirement 
  • The anticipated cost of living increases and raises
  • The future outlook for your current career or job

The factors are based on your specific circumstances. These factors are also used to estimate the losses from diminished earning capacity. 

Diminished earning capacity refers to the money you lose because of a partial impairment or disability. You may be able to work, but your condition reduces your earnings. 

The difference between what you would have earned and what you will earn is the value of diminished earning capacity. Financial experts use factors like those listed above to estimate the amounts to calculate diminished earning capacity.

Does Comparative Fault Impact Compensation for Loss of Earnings and Diminished Earning Capacity?

Illinois law includes a modified comparative fault standard to be used when apportioning damages in a personal injury case. If an injured party contributes to the cause of their injury, their compensation for damages can be decreased by their level of fault. 

Therefore, if you are 35% to blame for causing a car accident, your compensation for damages would be reduced by that percentage. Instead of receiving the total amount of a jury award, you would receive 65% of the amount. The standard applies to non-economic damages for pain and suffering and all economic damages, including loss of income damages.

It is important to note that the comparative fault law in Illinois includes a 51% bar. If your degree of fault totals 51% or more, you cannot receive any money for your claim. 

An insurance adjuster might try to shift some blame to you to undervalue your damages. Be careful what you say when speaking with an insurance company. Your statements could be twisted to imply you admitted fault. It is best to allow your Chicago personal injury attorney to handle all communications with the insurance company.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Loss of Earnings/Diminished Earning Capacity Claims in Chicago, IL?

Because loss of earnings/diminished earning capacity claims are part of your personal injury claim, the statute of limitations is based on your personal injury case. Most personal injury cases have a two-year statute of limitations in Illinois. The court can dismiss your lawsuit if you file it after the deadline expires.

However, numerous exceptions to the statute of limitations could shorten or lengthen the time to file a lawsuit. It is in your best interest to consult an attorney as soon as possible to avoid missing a deadline. 

Learn More About Loss of Earnings Claims During a Free Consultation With a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have questions about personal injury claims, a Chicago personal injury attorney can help. Many offer free case evaluations for you to learn more about your claim, including how you can recover the money you need and deserve. Contact the experienced Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers today for a free case review.  You can call us at (312) 929-2884.