Calculating Loss of Income

After you make a personal injury claim, the amount of compensation you are entitled to will depend on a variety of different factors. One of these factors is future economic loss, which refers to both past and future income lost because of the injury.

Economic loss can provide the largest amount of compensation in most personal injury claims. This is a very important element of the claim because if an injury impedes a person’s ability to earn an income, this can seriously compromise their ability to support themselves in the future.

How is economic loss calculated?

Regardless of whether your injury is from a car accident, workplace accident or in a public place, the way in which economic loss is calculated is the same in Queensland.

Past economic loss is usually quite simple to work out. This based on what loss of income the claimant has sustained, from the date of the injury occurring. However, it is often more difficult to calculate future economic loss and the Court will take various things into consideration, which is why it’s important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer who can assist you with your claim.

Factors considered

One of the factors considered is what the most likely scenario would have been earnings-wise for the claimant had the injury not occurred. In most cases, the calculation is the difference between what the claimant would have likely earned in the future if they weren’t injured, less what they are now likely to earn in the future with the injury. Please note that this calculation is a general guide only, and you should seek legal advice if you are making a personal injury claim.

Another factor considered is what the claimant is able to do for work after an injury, also knowns as “residual earning capacity”. This is usually determined by what medical experts have assessed the claimant’s options for work are with their injury and their capacity for work post-injury.

Other factors taken into consideration when calculating economic loss are:

  • Pre-injury work and earnings history and opportunities for increased income
  • The age of the claimant – in the majority of cases, it is considered a claimant will work to the age of retirement. The fewer years a claimant has left for employment, the less economic loss they will be entitled to.
  • Pre-injury health – if their existing health conditions prior to the accident were likely to affect their ability to earn an income whether the injury occurred or not, this will be taken into consideration when calculating damages.

Personal injury claims can sometimes be more complicated than they appear. We encourage anyone thinking about pursuing a personal injury claim to seek legal advice.

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