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What is lost earning potential?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2023 | Injuries

If you get into a car accident, you may experience lost wages. Maybe you have to spend a day in the hospital. Maybe your injuries mean that you have to recover at home for a few weeks. All of the time that you miss at work may represent a significant financial cost. You’re not just paying for medical bills. Your injuries are causing you to lose money because you can’t work.

But there’s something else to think about at the same time: Lost earning potential. This refers to money that you would have earned in the future, had you not suffered your injuries. This potential may even be more significant than any wages that you directly lost while you were recovering. Lost earning potential can impact how much you make for the rest of your life.

Potential lost earning potential depends on many different factors

The easiest way to look at lost earning potential is from the lens of the possibility that you’ve suffered an injury that means you won’t be able to work again. Maybe you were making $50,000 a year and you expected to work for the next 20 years. Now you have a spinal cord injury that leads to a disability and means you can never return to work. This scenario would suggest that you have lost a minimum of $1 million in earning potential – on top of lost wages, medical bills and other losses.

In this scenario, you’ll also need to consider that your wages may not have been stagnant for the next 20 years. What if you got a promotion that came with a significant raise? In some careers, there is potential to increase your earnings dramatically. You could climb the corporate ladder and begin making seven figures a year. If your injury has prevented you from doing so, that is also lost earning potential, even if you can still be employed doing “lesser” work at a lower wage.

Next steps

It’s important not to overlook any of your potential financial issues after you’ve been injured as a result of another’s actions or inaction. They may not have meant to cause a car accident, but they have changed your life forever. Take the time to carefully consider how you can seek financial compensation from those responsible to better ensure that you don’t have to shoulder financial burdens that belong on another’s shoulders.

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