Most car accidents are minor fender benders where no one is hurt. Occasionally, though, an accident can leave someone severely injured and with permanent disabilities. If you or someone you know has been the victim of someone else’s negligent driving, and you are unable to work like you used to as a result, you may worry about how you will be able to support your family.
Loss of earning capacity
If you suffer debilitating injuries resulting from a car crash, you don’t have to deal with the consequences of the crash by yourself. You have the right to bring a lawsuit against the party that was responsible for the crash, in order to recover compensation for your injuries.
These injuries don’t only include physical injuries. They also include things such as the money you couldn’t earn by working while you were in the hospital recovering (known as lost wages) and the money that you won’t be able to earn in the future due to your new disability (known as lost earning capacity).
If you win your lawsuit, you will be able to recover the money you would have earned during your recovery time, as well as the money you would earn in the future if you didn’t have your disability. In deciding the amount to award, courts look at things such as your normal salary, your age, your health and your skills.
The Reece case
Back in 2007, the Kentucky Supreme Court decided a case (called Reece v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company) that made it much easier for victims of catastrophic car accidents to gain the recovery that they need to support their families.
After this case, an accident victim no longer has to prove that they lost their earning capacity in order to get a jury instruction to that effect. All that the victim has to prove is that they suffered a permanent injury, and the court will allow a jury instruction to decide how much to award the victim for loss of earning capacity.
What this means for you is that it is now much easier for you to prove in court that the party responsible for the accident must compensate you for the loss of your ability to support yourself. If you win your lawsuit, you will be able to receive what you need to feed your family despite your disability.
No amount of money can truly make up for your horrific injury. But receiving compensation for loss of earning capacity can go a long way in helping you to get back to some semblance of a normal life after your accident.