A personal injury claimant may also be entitled for damages for loss of income-earning capacity. These damages are intended to compensate a claimant for both past income they have lost until the time of trial or settlement, as well as loss to their ability to earn income in the future. Past income loss is generally easier to quantify than future income loss, and is generally assessed based on the income the claimant was earning at the time of the accident and the time they were off work as a result of the injury. Changes in job duties as a result of an injury, and resulting changes in income, may also be relevant to this assessment.
Loss of future income-earning capacity is generally more difficult to quantify. Starting with a history of your income, the court may estimate the effect your injuries have had on your ability to earn income in the future, and calculate the amount of damages necessary to fairly compensate you for this income loss. It is important to remember that the assessment of lost income-earning capacity in personal injury claims is not an exact calculation, and the courts have considerable leeway for how much damages to award for such claims. Factors relevant to this calculation include the effect that a claimant’s injuries have had on their ability to perform their job duties, and the likelihood of future events, such as promotions, that a claimant may have lost out on due to his or her injuries.