Just about any sort of workplace accident can result in a devastating injury. When it happens, the victim will, understandably, tend to focus on the short term. They don’t know how they’ll be able to make up for the money they’ll lose because they can’t work. Victims aren’t sure how they’ll be able to handle their medical bills. But if an injury is particularly severe, there will also be long-term concerns. What if you can’t go back to your original job and have to take something that pays less? What if you can’t work at all?
A workers’ compensation attorney with Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh will be here to answer whatever questions you have. We’ll be more than happy to help you file your claim and tell you what types of accidents are covered and which ones aren’t covered. If you get resistance, or your claim is flat-out denied, we’ll provide the aggressive representation it will take to get you the money you deserve.
What is Lost Earning Capacity?
This is basically the money an injury victim will lose because they can’t return to their normal line of work. If, for instance, someone working in a position that calls for constant lifting suffers a debilitating back injury, they won’t be able to lift any longer. They might be able to return to work but have to take another position that doesn’t pay as much.
The victim will lose out on raises they would have earned as they progressed in their career, as well as potential bonuses. They may also lose fringe benefits, such as dental insurance, that they won’t be able to find again.
Lost earning capacity is a form of damages, or financial losses, that an injury victim may be able to recover through a worker’s compensation claim. But if that claim is denied, or the accident occurred due to gross negligence, an attorney may be able to help the victim obtain compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Can I Also Claim Past and Future Lost Wages?
Florida’s worker’s comp system pays a portion of an employee’s salary if they’re hurt on the job. If you’ve been so severely hurt that you will never be able to work again, you will likely be eligible to obtain two-thirds of what you made every week on average, up to $971 per week. You’ll receive these benefits for as long as you’re disabled.
But what about your past lost wages or the wages you’ll lose in the future? You may be eligible for other partial payments as well. A Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh attorney will be able to tell you more.
Reasons for Claiming Lost Earning Capacity
A workplace accident can be incredibly serious. Whether the cause was a malfunctioning piece of machinery, the negligence of a co-worker or supervisor, or anything else, the damage done to the victim can be permanent.
Depending on the extent of the disability, you may be able to obtain compensation for lost earning capacity. There are a lot of factors that go into making that determination and calculating lost earning capacity, as you’ll learn in the next section. The report your doctor files will be critically important because it will spell out how your injury will likely determine what type of work you’ll be able to perform in the future or if you’ll be able to work at all.
This can get very complicated very quickly, however. That’s why you’ll need a skilled worker’s compensation attorney by your side if you have any reason to believe you’re being treated unfairly.
How is Lost Earning Capacity Calculated?
Your lost wages will be very easy to prove, of course. All your attorney will need will be your pay stubs, medical records, and employment records. Lost earning capacity, on the other hand, is far more difficult. The reason is that it involves making predictions about what you would likely make in the future.
There are many instances where your attorney will need to bring in expert witnesses if an insurance company is fighting the amount of compensation you’re entitled to receive for your lost earning capacity.
The expert will take a close look at your employment records and work history and then make a reasonable, well-educated estimate regarding what your earnings would have likely been in the future.
The expert will take a lot of factors into account when recommending the amount of compensation for lost earning capacity you should receive. Here are just a few.
- The city where you worked.
- Your education level.
- Your profession.
- Your work history.
- Your talents, abilities, and skills.
- The current rate at which people in your line of work are being paid.
- Your history of raises, promotions, and increases in skill levels.
It’s important that you provide your attorney with documentation. They will send the documents over to the expert. After receiving documentation, they’ll make an estimate, and you’ll be able to collect your compensation.
Steps to Take After an Accident that Leaves You Unable to Work
If you’ve only recently been injured, hopefully, you’ve already received medical attention. If not, do so immediately. You’re going to need solid evidence of how badly you’ve been hurt, and the only person who can provide that proof is a medical professional.
You’ll also have to make sure your employer knows exactly what happened. Tell them verbally, but also make sure that you fill out a detailed accident report. This report will be critically important to your case. If you’re not totally comfortable doing it on your own, speak with an attorney.
The next step will be to file your claim. The sooner you do this, the faster you can collect the money for your medical bills and other expenses. Again, an attorney can be a huge help in this area.
Hire an Attorney for Your Workers’ Compensation Lawsuit to Ensure You Get the Compensation You Deserve
If you have any reason to believe you’re going to have issues getting the money you have coming for your lost earning capacity or anything else, get in touch with Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh as soon as you can. If we need to fight on your behalf, you won’t pay a dime unless we win your case.