Under Missouri and Kansas law, brain injury victims are entitled to recover for wages they lost after an accident caused by another person’s negligence. However, injured parties may not realize they can also receive compensation for lost earning capacity if their brain injury results in an impairment that adversely affects earning potential.
Lost earning capacity refers to future income one has not yet earned and is unable to earn because of his or her injury. A lost earnings capacity claim requires you to prove the difference between what you could have earned if you had not suffered a brain injury and what you are now capable of earning given any resulting disability or limitations.
If you have suffered a brain injury in a Kansas or Missouri accident, contact our Law Office of Kevin J. McManus for a free consultation. Call 816-203-0143 or contact us online to schedule your free case review with our experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer.
How Does a Brain Injury Impact Earning Capacity?
Brain injuries can impair a person’s cognitive, emotional, and physical abilities. Rehabilitation therapies help many people with brain injuries recover. But, unfortunately, some people with traumatic brain injuries sustain permanent impairments.
The impairments may include, but are not limited to:
- Physical impairments, including the ability to walk, stand, control limbs, etc.
- Language, speech, and communication problems
- Memory problems
- Cognitive problems, including higher-level executive functions like reasoning, judgment, planning, and problem-solving
- Sensory impairments, including problems with vision, hearing, and balance
- Behavioral and personality issues, including depression, PTSD, aggression, mood swings, and borderline personality disorder
These impairments can adversely impact a person’s ability to return to their jobs before the accident.
For example, a lawyer may have trouble forming legal arguments, or a surgeon’s hand may not be steady after a brain injury accident. Another example might be a nurse who cannot stand because of vertigo or other physical impairment caused by a brain injury.
The at-fault party is liable if the person’s ability to earn the same income after the accident decreases because of the brain injury. However, proving lost earning capacity can be difficult.
How Do You Prove a Lost Earning Capacity Claim After a Brain Injury in Kansas and Missouri?
Expert witness testimony is crucial for a lost earning capacity claim. Our Kansas City injury lawyer works with medical experts to establish how the brain injury resulted in an impairment. A good medical expert will be able to explain how the impairment impacts your ability to perform work. Ideally, the medical expert explains how your brain injury prevents you from performing specific job duties.
Our law firm also works with forensic accountants or financial experts to assist with lost earning capacity claims. First, this expert must calculate how much you would have earned had it not been for the brain injury. Then, the financial expert determines how much you can earn given the limitations caused by the brain injury. The difference between the two amounts is the value of your lost earning capacity claim.
Factors Used to Determine Lost Earning Capacity Claims
Expert witnesses consider various factors when calculating the value of a lost earning capacity claim. Factors they may consider when determining a person’s potential loss of earning capacity include:
- The type and nature of the impairment
- How the impairment impacts the person’s job
- Whether the person’s skills can translate to another job
- The person’s life expectancy before the accident
- Pre-accident earnings and compensation
- The person’s skills, training, education, and experience
- The ability to perform aspects of their job
- The person’s projected career path before and after the brain injury
- The assessed value of the victim’s skills in the marketplace
- The loss of future opportunities and promotions because of the injury
- The reduction in work hours caused by the injury
The at-fault party may argue that you failed to mitigate damages by performing some type of work. It might not be the work you performed before the brain injury, but unless you are completely disabled, you should be able to earn some money. Our experts determine the difference based on your specific brain injuries, impairments, and job qualifications.
Be Careful of Low, Quick Settlement Offers After a Brain Injury Accident in Kansas or Missouri
An insurance claims adjuster may reach out to you after a brain injury accident to make you a settlement offer. However, resist the temptation to take the offer without consulting our Kansas City brain injury lawyer.
Initial settlement offers rarely equal the value of the injured party’s damages, especially in cases involving brain injuries and lost earning capacity. The insurance company’s goal is to convince you to settle your claim before you understand the extent of your brain injuries.
Unfortunately, brain injury accidents can lead to long-term impairments. Those impairments could significantly impact your future earning potential. If so, you need our experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer to help you prove your case to recover the maximum compensation available for a lost earning capacity after a brain injury accident.
Contact Our Kansas City Brain Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
Brain injuries and lost earning capacity claims are complicated personal injury cases. Our legal team at the Law Office of Kevin J. McManus has extensive experience handling these types of personal injury claims throughout Missouri and Kansas.
Schedule your free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Kansas City, Missouri, by calling 816-203-0143 or completing our online contact form.