Unlocking Your Future_ a Comprehensive Guide to Claiming Compensation for Lost Future Earnings After an Accident

Have you recently sustained injuries in a Chicago car accident? Have you sustained injuries in another incident resulting from someone’s carelessness or wrongdoing? Potential examples include:

  • Slip-and-falls
  • Boat wrecks
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Product liability accidents

If you were injured because of someone else’s actions or inaction, you can file an insurance claim with the insurer of the at-fault party. Filing a claim lets you seek compensation for medical bills and related losses resulting from your injuries.

The losses for which you seek compensation can vary depending on the severity of your injuries. For example, maybe your injuries prevent you from working indefinitely. You could seek compensation for loss of future earnings after an accident in these circumstances.

Seeking Future Earnings Compensation in a Chicago Personal Injury Case: A Legal Guide to Future Income Loss

Putting together a strong personal injury future income claim can be complicated. Improve your chances of receiving the full amount of compensation you’re entitled to by keeping these tips in mind:

Understanding the Differences Between Lost Wages and Lost Earning Capacity

You may seek compensation for lost wages when you file a personal injury claim. Some claimants mistakenly assume that loss of future income or earning capacity and lost wages are the same.

That’s not so. Lost wages consist of the income you lost prior to accepting a settlement because you were off work as a result of your injury. For example, maybe your injuries caused you to miss three months of work during your recovery. You might seek compensation for three months of income in this scenario.

Future loss of income or future lost earning capacity are different. If your injuries are particularly severe, you may never be able to return to work. Even if you can work, you might not be able to earn the same income you once earned. If you will never be able to return to work, you could pursue a claim for all the accumulated income you would have earned had you been able to work until retirement age.

If you can return to work but must accept a lower-paying job than your pre-injury one because of accident-related work restrictions, you could be compensated for the difference between what you can currently earn and what you would have earned had you been able to continue in your original job.

Documenting Loss of Earning Capacity Medically

Medical evidence and documentation will play a significant role in a future loss of earnings claim. Medical records, diagnostic tests, and other such documentation can illustrate the severity of your injuries. These documents must work together to show that your injuries are severe enough to negatively impact your long-term earning capacity.

Your doctor and other medical professionals can issue reports opining about why you will be unable to return to your regular job or any work at all. Medical professionals could testify to the extent of your injuries and impairments. Their descriptions and insights should clarify how your injuries affect your earning capacity.

Enlisting the Help of Economists or Vocational Professionals

Compensation for future loss of earnings after an accident can be substantial. You’re not just seeking compensation for a few weeks or months of lost income. You’re seeking lost income you might have earned over the course of your life.

Thus, insurance companies and defendants may be reluctant to offer fair payouts in these circumstances. The more money an insurer stands to lose, the more they will require thorough documentation of your losses.

A doctor’s testimony might not be sufficient to convince an insurer you deserve the compensation you’re seeking. You may also illustrate your loss of earning capacity by coordinating with additional professionals. Common examples in these types of cases include economists and vocational professionals.

Various factors can influence your earning capacity. The severity of your injuries is only one example. Other factors may include:

  • Age
  • Education/training
  • Past work experience
  • Any professional skills you’ve acquired or demonstrated
  • The industries you have access to

Factors that don’t even directly relate to you may also affect your earning capacity. For example, the average pay in your chosen industry can influence how much you might earn.

Vocational professionals can assess your ability to return to work. Economists or accounting professionals may account for the above factors when calculating future earnings loss. Their testimony can support a doctor’s testimony that you cannot work at your regular job.

Understanding the Income That Future Loss of Earnings May Include

When calculating future earnings loss, you may focus primarily on your future wages. You can submit pay stubs, documentation of promotions/raises, and other such documentation to show how much income you likely would have earned in the future.

However, your wages aren’t the only forms of income you might collect. Other potential forms of income you may receive include:

  • Benefits
  • Vacation time
  • Overtime
  • Bonuses
  • Profit-sharing contributions
  • Commissions

Account for all these losses when negotiating for a fair settlement. An insurance claims adjuster is unlikely to tell you what types of compensation you’re eligible for. You’ll have to either familiarize yourself with your rights or hire an attorney to represent you during settlement negotiations.

Pursuing Compensation for Future Loss of Earnings After an Accident in Illinois: Don’t Miss the Deadline

a man with a neck brace lost future earnings after an accident and sitting at a table with a woman

The statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits in Illinois allows two years from the date you sustained injuries to file a lawsuit. In addition, individual insurance companies may have their own deadlines for filing claims.

Don’t miss the deadline. If you file your lawsuit after the statutory deadline passes, the court can dismiss your case without a hearing, and you will lose your right to pursue compensation through the courts.

Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

Pursuing compensation for loss of future earnings after an accident is a complex process. Luckily, it’s not one you must navigate alone.

Discuss your case with an attorney for more information. At JJ Legal, a Chicago personal injury lawyer will gladly explain your options. If you hire us, our team can also help you gather documentation of your future loss of earnings. Get started today by contacting us online or calling us at 312-200-2000 for a free case review.

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