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Personal Injury Law Is More Complex Than You Think

I always assumed that personal injury cases where pretty straight forward. After being in an accident, any financial losses that you suffered would be reimbursed by the liable party's insurance company. Unfortunately, things only work this way in a perfect world. In the real world, personal injury cases are extremely complex and getting the insurance company to pay a fair settlement requires the expertise of an experienced injury lawyer. Unfortunately, it took me several months to finally seek out the legal assistance I needed. As a result, I waited much longer than necessary to get the compensation I so desperately needed. During this time, I learned more about personal injury law than I ever thought I would. It is my hope that this blog will allow me to share that knowledge with you so that you can avoid making some of the same mistakes that I did.


Personal Injury Law Is More Complex Than You Think

Did You Lose Out On A Promotion Due To A Personal Injury? Compensation Is Possible

by Christine Wagner

You already know what your injury has cost you in terms of medical bills, lost wages, and weeks (or months) of suffering. But now that you've recovered as fully as you can, how do you calculate what your injury will continue to cost you? Especially since your injury sidelined you during an important moment in your career and caused you to miss a promotion that won't come around again soon. If your future career has been changed as a result of your personal injury, this what you should know.

Understanding Loss Of Earning Capacity

The loss of future earnings is also called the "loss of earning capacity." It generally occurs in one of three ways:

  • your injury is so severe that you can never work again
  • your injury is so severe that it forces you into a less demanding job, with lower pay
  • your injury causes a delay in your career that may not be possible to overcome

The first two situations are usually clear. If you used to be an accountant but a head injury left you with brain damage and you can't do that job anymore, your future financial outlook has definitely changed for the worse. Even if you can do menial labor, it won't replace the income you once expected to earn throughout your lifetime.

The third situation is less clear. Lost earnings are calculated based on your potential earning power, and it can be hard to prove that your future earnings have been significantly diminished because of something like a missed promotion.

Proving Loss Of Earnings Capacity

If you were injured through somebody else's actions to the point where you can't work again or can't return to your previous job, the insurance company probably expects to compensate you in a way the reflects the obvious changes to your financial stability. However, when the lost earning capacity is more subtle, like a missed promotion, you may have a difficult time getting an insurance company to agree to include that lost future income in your compensation.

The burden of proving your loss will be on you (and your attorney). You can help yourself by making sure that you provide all the documentation necessary to prove that you've suffered a loss:

  • proof that you missed out on the promotion only because you were injured and unable to work
  • evidence of any "perks" that would have gone along with the promotion, like insurance benefits, company stock, eligibility for bonuses, tuition reimbursement, and paid dependent care
  • the estimated difference between what you would have earned from now to the end of your career (had your career not been interrupted), and what you are likely to earn now that your career trajectory has changed

More than likely, you'll have to get testimony from your superiors at work to prove that the promotion would have been yours if you had been available to take it. You may need to call on someone from your human resources department to give testimony about the perks that went along with the promotion. You'll probably also need the services of a forensic accountant, who has the specialized skill of calculating economic losses like these.

You may be tempted to accept the lost promotion as just "one of those things" that happens and can't be undone. Don't do that without talking to your personal injury attorney first. Proving future lost earnings may be difficult, but it isn't impossible, and you should discuss the possibility with a professional before you decide how to proceed.