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Armed Forces Lost Earning Capacity – We Can Help After Your Accident

Our nation owes its freedom to the sacrifices made by members of the Armed Services. That’s why it can be so frustrating when U.S. Military personnel on active duty or in the reserves sustain a serious injury in a car accident or another seemingly-random incident. Suddenly, you or a loved one might miss out on promotions or other employment opportunities due to your accident.

If you were injured in an accident and you believe your accident has affected your ability to move up in the ranks, you could have a legitimate “lost earning capacity” case. And if you don’t take legal action right away, you could forfeit your right to be fairly compensated.

In Massachusetts, the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone has years of experience serving people who have been injured. We know how the legal system works – and we’re proud to put our knowledge to work on behalf of military personnel. Our law firm has recovered more than $500 million in verdicts, settlements, benefits and awards. Numbers don’t lie. We know how to get the job done right!

What is lost earning capacity?

The term “lost earning capacity” refers to the potential future income that a person might have received if he or she was never injured in an accident. In the military, injuries can make a dramatic difference during a soldier’s or officer’s career because they may inhibit the service member’s ability to move up the ranks.

The difference in pay can often be dramatic in the United States military. Depending on whether you’re an Enlisted Personnel (E Grade), Warrant Officer (W Grade) or Officer (O Grade), your pay could be significantly higher depending on your rank.

How much money is at stake?

Two common military grades include E4 and E5. In the U.S. Army and the Marines, E4 refers to a Corporal while E5 applies to a Sergeant. In the Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, a Petty Officer 3rd Class has an E4 grade while a Petty Officer 2nd Class has an E5 grade. In the United States Air Force, E4 applies to a Senior Airman while Staff Sergeants receive an E5 pay grade. In Massachusetts, many military personnel have these ranks, especially members of the 66th Air Base Group stationed at Hanscom Air Force Base and the 439th Airlift Wing at Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee.

The difference between E4 and E5 might seem small - $185.40 a month if you have less than 2 years’ experience, according to the current Enlisted Pay Grades. But if your injury prevents you from permanently moving up a rank from Corporal to Sergeant, you could lose out on $2,224.80 a year the first year. And that number will go up each year since most military personnel receive more money the longer they serve in the armed forces. As a result, according to the current military pay scale, the difference between a Corporal and Sergeant with 12 or more years’ experience is $682.80 a month or $8,193.60 a year.

And such numbers don’t take into account the thousands of additional dollars that a retired Corporal or Sergeant receives for the rest of his or her life. That’s why it’s critical that you work with a lawyer to make sure you don’t miss out on compensation you rightfully deserve.

How can a lawyer help me with my case?

Building a legal case involving lost earning capacity can be extremely complicated. No one knows for sure what will happen during their lifetime. But there are many reasonable expectations, especially for members of the armed services.

As your attorney, we can take legal action against the person who caused your accident. The military does not need to be involved in your case whatsoever. We simply need to prove that your accident caused an injury which prevented you from taking on additional assignments or duties that would have likely resulted in a promotion.

Some law firms avoid such complicated cases. We thrive on them. That’s because we want to make a difference in people’s lives. That’s especially true for the men and women who serve our country. You put your life on the line for us every single day. Now it’s our turn to fight for your rights. Contact our law firm today. We have 12 offices conveniently located statewide.

Dubuque v. Cumberland Farms – Mass. Storefront Crash Verdict for $32M

Some 50 times every day, a vehicle crashes into the front of a retail store, restaurant or commercial building. In 2010, it happened at a Chicopee convenience store, resulting in the death of a 43-year-old patron.

Now, in Dubuque v. Cumberland Farms, a 12-person jury has handed down the largest-ever jury verdict in Hampden County in favor of that victim’s surviving husband and daughter: $32.3 million in damages.

Massachusetts car accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone know the case brought to the forefront the issue of storefront safety. Too often, there is a tendency to assume this sort of thing “just happens” or that the person behind the wheel shoulders all the blame.

In reality, when a storefront abuts a parking lot, there should be an assumption that something like this could happen. That means it is foreseeable. The business owes a duty of care to patrons to ensure its site is reasonably safe for business invitees. When it is not, those business owners/ managers can be held responsible.

In a case like this, something as simple as concrete bollards around the perimeter could have prevented this unnecessary tragedy.

According to the ample news coverage of this accident lawsuit, an elderly motorist was driving his sport-utility vehicle at more than 70 mph when he slammed into the storefront. At the time, the 81-year-old driver was suffering a stroke. Because of the “sudden emergency doctrine,” in which a driver faces a sudden and unexpected dangerous situation not of his or her own making, the elderly motorist could not be held criminally or civilly responsible.

The victim’s family then turned their attention to the business. They alleged that the site was vulnerable where it was located, and the business should have installed strong barriers in order to prevent vehicles from slamming into the building.

The defendants argued that no federal, state or local regulations required the business to install the barriers outside its store, and characterized decedent’s death as a traffic accident. They underscored there had never been a crash at that location since it opened in 1974.

But the plaintiff argued it was only a matter of time.

Although there may not have been a law mandating the installation of barriers, the store still owed a duty of care to make sure its customers were reasonably safe. As plaintiff attorneys explained, the store had an apex-type driveway that posed a safety risk because vehicles could drive directly at the store at high rates of speed, and there were not barriers at all protecting the people inside. Plaintiff attorneys described it as “a deadly invitation.”

Further, the injury lawyer explained that this was a company that had locations from Miami to Maine. They had ample resources to install these protections without significant hardship – about $3,000 to $3,500 per store.

And while it was true the store had never had a crash at that site before, there had been numerous problems with cars traveling at high speeds nearby and in the parking lot. What’s more, there had been hundreds of “car strikes” at other stores owned by this same company.

In the end, it was this long pattern of neglect on the part of the convenience store chain that convinced jurors more could and should have been done to ensure customers were safe from car accidents. It shouldn’t take the untimely and devastating loss of a wife and mother for a company to be proactive in protecting their patrons.

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