Can I Sue for Lost Earning Capacity if I Was Injured in a Personal Injury Case?

When you suffer a personal injury, the damages extend beyond physical pain and emotional trauma. In many cases, people these types of injuries result in lost wages and a decreased ability to earn money in the future. These damages, which are referred to as "lost earning capacity," are often included in personal injury claims.

What Is Lost Earning Capacity?

Lost earning capacity refers to the loss of future income as a result of a personal injury. For example, if a construction worker suffers a severe back injury, they may no longer be able to perform heavy lifting or other physically intensive work. This could limit their ability to work in a way that is comparable to their previous position, which results in a loss of earning capacity.

Lost earning capacity can impact your ability to earn a living in many ways. For example, you may be limited to part-time work, have to take a lower-paying job, or be unable to work altogether. Additionally, lost earning capacity also factors in the effects of the injury on your career trajectory, including promotions, raises, and other advancements that may have been possible if not for the injury.

How Do I Prove Lost Earning Capacity?

Proving lost earning capacity requires a thorough analysis of your injury and the resulting impact on your ability to earn income. Generally, this involves gathering evidence from various sources, such as medical records, employment and income history, and expert testimony.

Medical Records: Your medical records will play a crucial role in determining the degree of your injury and how it has impacted your ability to work. You will want to provide copies of all medical records, including doctors’ notes, imaging results, and rehabilitation evaluations.

Employment and Income History: To establish your earning capacity before and after the injury, you will need to provide documentation of your employment history and income. This may include tax returns, pay stubs, and employment contracts.

Expert Testimony: In some cases, you may also need to provide expert testimony to establish the extent of your injury and the impact it has had on your ability to earn income. This may include medical experts, vocational rehabilitation specialists, and economists.

How Do I Include Lost Earning Capacity in a Personal Injury Claim?

To include lost earning capacity in a personal injury claim, you will need to consult with a personal injury lawyer. They will help you determine the appropriate amount of compensation to seek based on an analysis of your injury and its impact on your income.

Your lawyer will typically present your lost earning capacity claim as part of an overall calculation of damages. This includes any economic loss you suffered as a result of the injury, such as medical bills, lost wages, and future medical expenses.

In some cases, lost earning capacity damages may be included in a settlement negotiation before a trial. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer will present evidence of lost earning capacity damages in court.


Lost earning capacity is a critical element in personal injury claims when an injury leads to the inability to work at the same level as before. If you have suffered a personal injury that has impacted your ability to earn income, it is important to consult with a personal injury lawyer. They will help you assess your losses and determine the appropriate amount of compensation to seek in your claim both within and out of court.

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