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A Washington, DC attorney has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Washington Metro system. The lawsuit stems from the injury the attorney suffered as a result of a pipe falling from the ceiling and hitting him in the head last year. The attorney then stumbled onto the escalator from the below ground platform, and was escalated above ground, where he received help.
Unfortunately for the WMTA, the attorney is employed at a large law firm which has taken on the job of representing their employee. While the $50 million in claimed damages may seem high, for a Harvard Law grad that had a starting salary of $200,000, who is no longer able to work, and may require a lifetime of medical treatment/care, it could actually be low.
Lawsuits Fall From Above
Although it may sound like this case is extraordinary, people are injured by things falling from ceilings more often than one might expect. What makes these types of cases significant is that when a person is hit from an object falling from above, they are frequently hit in the head. Head injuries are extremely dangerous particularly as they may lead to a TBI (traumatic brain injury), which can have permanent, life changing effects.
Calculating Lost Earnings
In an injury case where a defendant is found liable for the injuries caused, a plaintiff will be entitled to receive monetary damages for lost income. Lost income is categorized in two ways, past and future.
Past lost income will compensate a plaintiff for the earnings that were lost while recovering from the injury. This is simply calculated by looking at person's past earnings prior to the injury, and using that rate of pay to determine the total amount of lost income.
Future lost income (often called earning capacity) is the income a person will not be able to earn because of the injury. Generally, future lost income requires a showing that the injury has caused the victim a diminished ability to work and earn income. This is much more complicated than just showing what past earnings were. It will involve experts in finance and vocational rehabilitation to testify about what a person's future financial and work prospects look like post-injury.