There are numerous times when somebody is injured so significantly that they either can never go back to work or cannot go back to work performing the same task they did before. Individuals involved in very physical forms of employment may never be able to do the same work they did before the accident, and this is where they make a determination as to what they may be entitled to as it relates to future lost wages or a loss of earning capacity.
According to LegalMatch, future lost wages relates more to the inability to work in the future. A loss of earning capacity relates not only to the inability to work in the future, but perhaps also to an individual who has to change careers as a result of the injury they sustained. Proving future lost wages and a future loss of earning capacity is generally done through experts.
According to Plaintiff, there may be a vocational rehabilitation expert who testifies that as a result of the injuries documented, an individual can no longer perform certain tasks relating to their current employment and therefore they will need to be re-educated and brought back into the workforce under a different type of employment. They would estimate the cost of future education, the cost of downtime and loss of wages during that educational period. And then, perhaps even when they do retain a new job, it is at a lower rate of pay, and all those estimates are projected into the future based upon someone’s lifetime.
With regard to potential employment, economists will take all of those future figures, reduce them to what is called present value and put a total lump sum number on the figure. This is because when you are at trial, a jury awards one lump sum for those future lost wages. And that is where the expert testimony becomes very useful.