Kentucky Opens Door to Loss of Earning Capacity Claims

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that a "plaintiff need only prove with reasonable probability  that the injury is permanent in order to obtain an instruction on permanent impairment of earning power."

In Reece v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company,  2005-SC-000079-DG (Ken. S. C. March 22, 2007) Reece was hurt in an automobile accident.  Two doctors testified that she suffered a permanent injury in the incident.  The issue before the court was

"whether the evidence submitted by Reece in this case was sufficient to warrant an instruction on permanent impairment of earning power, or whether Reece was required to present specific evidence, presumably in the form of an expert, of how her earning power was permanently impaired by the injury. Reece argues that no specific evidence of permanent impairment of earning power is required, only proof that the injury is permanent which she presented through the testimony of Dr. Thurman and Dr. Raque. Nationwide contends that the Court of Appeals correctly set out the standard which would require specific evidence of permanent impairment of earning power in the present case . We hold that evidence of permanent injury alone is sufficient for an instruction on permanent impairment of earning power, and that the jury can through their common knowledge and experience make the determination if there has been a permanent impairment of earning power, the extent of such impairment, and the amount of damages for such impairment."

Read the decision here.