When someone suffers a serious injury, they may miss time at work. This is why one of the major challenges that people tend to focus on in the wake of injurious circumstances is seeking compensation for lost wages. If you can’t work for a month, you’re losing out on more than the cost of your medical bills. You need your lost income to be replaced as well.
Lost earning potential is a bit different. This is also called lost earning capacity. This reality can be far more costly than lost wages, and it is often especially a problem when young people and high earners are injured.
Addressing how much you will be able to earn in your life
Essentially, lost earning potential is the reduction in the wages that you could have otherwise earned over the course of your life due to an injury. You may still be able to work, but your efforts will not be as lucrative as they could have been, in the event that you are in a position to pursue lost earning potential.
For example, imagine that a college student is in med school. They are on track to become a surgeon and have a comfortable life earning six figures every year. But they are then injured in a car accident and they suffer a traumatic brain injury. They are no longer able to go to med school, and they end up working in a trade that pays them far less money.
Another example could be if that student was going to work in a physical occupation to begin with. Maybe they wanted to be a general contractor or a roofer. But then they suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident that left them paralyzed. They may still have options to work at specific desk jobs, but they will not be able to earn the significant wages associated with specialized physical trades.
What options do you have?
You may be a parent who has a young child who has been injured in an accident. You certainly are concerned about their immediate medical costs, but you’re also thinking about how this is going to affect the rest of your child’s life. It’s important to understand the legal options at your disposal. Seeking legal guidance can help you figure out your next steps.