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Legal Memorandum: Damages for Lost Future Earnings

Issue: What governs how damages for lost future earnings are calculated in a personal injury matter?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Damages forlost future earnings; Personal injury
Jurisdiction: Maryland
Cited Cases: 623 A.2d 656; 716 A.2d 285; 11 Md. App. 89; 694 A.2d 150; 163 Md. 663; 164 A. 228; 272 A.2d 818
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 08/01/2008

“In an action for personal injuries, a plaintiff may recover for loss of future earnings which will reasonably and probably result from the tort.”  Monias v. Endal, 330 Md. 274, 280, 623 A.2d 656, 659 (1993).  When there has been an injury to the capacity to earn, the plaintiff is entitled to compensation for that injury, whether or not the plaintiff would have chosen to exercise such earning capacity.  Id. at 281 n.4, 623 A.2d at 659 n.4. (holding that the plaintiff was entitled to lost earnings from the time of the injury to the time she would have retired).  See Jones v. Flood, 351 Md. 120, 130-131, 716 A.2d 285, 290 (1998) (personal injury damages may include future lost earnings based on the plaintiff’s life expectancy).  Further, a plaintiff may recover in such an action for the loss of earning capacity that was caused by the defendant’s wrongful acts for the period of time from the injury to the end of the plaintiff’s expected work life as it would have existed without the injury.  Monias, 330 Md. at 281 n.4, 623 A.2d at 659 n.4.  See Anderson v. Litzenberg, 115 Md. App. 549, 694 A.2d 150 (1997).  As the Court of Special Appeals explained in Anderson, “[p]roof of impairment of earning capacity does not require the degree of specificity as does proof of loss of future wages.”  Id. at 574, 694 A.2d at 162.

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