Is an accident victim entitled to be paid for lost earnings if, at the time of accident, she had no job? Yes, as long as the victim had the ability to earn when the accident happened, and the accident took that ability away. For example, the victim may have been a stay-at-home mom, but she also had a medical degree and worked as a doctor before motherhood. She had no immediate plans to return to work but she was keeping that option open. Until that dreadful day when she suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. The accident closed that door forever. With the help of her attorney, she can seek compensation for the loss of the ability to return to her career and the income as a doctor.

It is up to the victim to prove that, though she wasn’t working before the accident, she nonetheless had the capacity to earn. She can prove that with her W-2’s, records from her last job, and/or the testimony of her previous employers or co-workers. What counts are the victim’s qualifications, including his:

  • Training
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Work History

The victim’s attorney may need to hire an expert to testify that, in light of the victim’s qualifications and experience, the victim could have worked before the accident, but that as a result of her injuries, now she cannot. If the evidence shows that the accident damaged (or destroyed entirely) the victim’s capacity to earn, then the victim is entitled to be compensated for what she could have earned but for her injuries.