Collateral Source Doctrine and Earning Capacity

According to personal injury law, plaintiffs have a right to request a jury to grant them various types of compensation, including physical pain, emotional distress, medical expenses, employment benefits, and loss of income. The rule applied in allocating these items of damages is the collateral source doctrine. The jury can accord compensation for both future and past losses, where the latter is usually calculated from the date of the harm to when the jury makes its ruling. The former is calculated from the date of the verdict to a date allocated by the court, which depends on the evidence given during the trial indicating how long the plaintiff will be experiencing the damage. However, medical expenses, lost employment benefits, and wages can be covered by collateral sources which are mainly insurances valuable to all injured individuals.

The collateral source doctrine is usually used after a trial’s completion, and the jury in charge has appropriately allotted damages regarding medical bills, lost earnings, and employment benefits. However, the rule dictates that immediately after the trial is complete, a defendant should request a hearing and present substantial proof that the injured individual has access to collateral sources, which can cover the costs associated with the various categories of losses. Consequently, if the evidence is authentic and reasonable, the jury can reduce the level of damages the defendant is supposed to pay accordingly.

Lost earnings and impairment of earning capacity are examples of damages injured individuals encounter that can be compensated using tort law. The former refers to future wage losses, which are recoverable damages on estimated eventualities if the accident had not occurred. However, for a plaintiff to be compensated based on lost earnings, they must present enough evidence to the jury relating to the amount of income they estimate to lose in the coming days due to the injury. However, since it is impossible to predict forthcoming events, the section of the law directs that it be only used in cases where the indicated future loss is certain. Impairment earning capacity, on the other hand, is usually used to illustrate items that can be compensated to an individual with a disability. The damages are dependent on the nature of the injury without necessarily referring to the victim’s wages. Consequently, depending on the harm caused, the plaintiff gets compensated for the loss of ability. The best approach to use in estimating the damages caused due to impairment earning capacity is by comparing the damages to similar occurrences such as losing the ability to walk.

Property rights are meant to prevent intrusions and protect people’s valuables or possessions. However, it contains numerous underlying components that complicate the approaches taken in addressing related cases. It is difficult to draw the line between nuisance and trespass in how they interact with property rights. For instance, if the nature of the intrusion is trespass, then the doctrine of strict liability can be applied, and the property owner can obtain injunctions to prevent similar incidences in the future. On the other hand, if the nuisance is the case, the law of strict liability is not applied to the claim since there is no physical injury caused even though there is evidence of intrusion. The two concepts underpin property rights by defining the extent to which the law protects a citizen’s property. However, the lack of clarity in the application of the two legal standards complicates the nature of the verdicts given in the different cases.

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