As a personal injury attorney, it is obviously necessary for me to have a complete and accurate understanding of my client’s injuries. How have the injuries affected my client? What exactly has he/she gone through in terms of pain and suffering? What is the true measure of loss of earning capacity? The source for learning detailed answers to these questions is from the client himself/ herself. In my initial consultation with clients, I ask them to keep an ongoing diary of how the injury has affected them. I ask to be given this diary (by email or otherwise) every few weeks. I will begin to grasp the nature of the injury and can then convey this to the opposing side. Additionally, the client’s deposition could be far down the road, months or even years after the accident took place. Because of this time lag, it is often helpful for clients to familiarize themselves with the details of the accident, the specifics of the injuries, and how painful and disabling they have come to be.
In terms of the loss of earning capacity, there are times where this is very straightforward. In those instances, we merely need to multiply the client’s baseline salary by the number of weeks, months, or years the client has been out of work. By baseline salary, I am referring to the salary the client was earning at the time of the injury. There are, however, circumstances that can complicate this calculation. For example, you may have to make projections into the future as the client may not be able to return to his/her job. The system allows these calculations to be made if there is the requisite medical foundation that the client cannot return to work. Finally, with loss of earning capacity, your lawyer should not forget that most jobs bring with them many extras -whether in the form of health insurance, retirement packages, cost of living increases, all of which stand apart from any potential increase in real wages-and they too should enter into any overall projection of loss of earning capacity.
Some people may wonder why the client’s own recollection and details are so essential. After all, don’t we merely look at wages, 1099 forms, W2’s, etc.? But some people do not have a fixed and steady income. When that occurs, the client needs to explain the nature of his business by accounting for seasonal fluctuations or other oddities in the business.
In summation, a personal injury attorney must work closely with the client to have an in-depth understanding of the injuries and how they have affected the client’s life, including one’s earning potential.
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Boston Attorneys Win Highest Injury Verdict in Massachusetts in 2011 & 2012.