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Lost Wages & Inability To Work

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An accident occurs out of nowhere resulting in you’re being wheeled into an ambulance.  Your accident injuries may require extensive medical treatment involving loss of work. Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and loss of earning capacity, two very different scenarios.

When an accident injury leads to loss of work, you may file a personal injury claim to recover compensatory damages. In addition to losses such as medical expenses and emotional pain and suffering, you may recover awards for “lost wages”. 

Your lost wages may consist of several types of income, including the following:

  • Salary
  • Hourly pay
  • Overtime pay
  • Income from a business
  • Commissions
  • Bonuses 
  • Benefits
  • Vacation time
  • Sick time

By totaling all forms of income, your attorney learns how much you earn. Damages for lost wages can include past, present, and future loss of income. Your lawyer will calculate total lost wages by:

  • Determining how much professional income you have already lost
  • Calculating the future income you are likely to lose due to injury

A very basic example is as follows;  You’ve already missed one year of work because of injury. Your lawyer determines that you’ve lost $75,000 in wages during that period. You’re entitled to that sum. If your doctors say you can’t work for another two years, that’s an additional cost of $150K.  For those three years, you’re entitled to $225K in lost income

Projecting future lost wages is not always straightforward. You may have earned more money year-over-year before your accident. This and other considerations could impact the value of future lost wages.  The complexities of these matters is why having an attorney on your side is a must.  To calculate potential lost wages, an attorney will review;

  • Professional contracts
  • Income-related statements
  • Records of bonuses and other forms of income
  • Any document that shows your progression of earnings over a relevant period of time

To prove loss of income, a medical expert will typically provide testimony or documentation detailing your injuries, how they prevent you from working now and in the future.  In conjunction with your employer and experts, your lawyer will present documents and testimony to project and support their claims of future lost wages.  Loss of earning capacity is a separate class of damage from lost wages called a general damage.  General damages typically do not have a clear monetary value. Their value is more subjective, and so a jury may award any figure that they see fit (within legal limits).  Loss of earning capacity can account for:

  • Future professional opportunities lost because of injuries
  • A reduction in your workable hours due to injury
  • Any other limitations on your ability to earn
  • Pain and suffering related to professional harm

You may receive awards for loss of earning capacity in addition to your awards for lost wages. Unlike lost wages, loss of earning capacity is more challenging to prove.  Your lawyer will consider several different factors when estimating the loss of earning capacity. This includes:

  • Work experience
  • Skills
  • Abilities
  • Talents
  • Career trajectory

A medical expert may explain the extent of your injury and the injury’s impact on your ability to work in the future. In some cases, the injured person is expected to slowly recover from their injuries over some time. This must be factored into the calculation of lost earning capacity. When injuries are more severe, the injured person may be unable to return to work at all. In this case, they may deserve coverage for lost wages and loss of earning capacity until they reach retirement age.

For over 40 years, the staff at LDM has fought to ensure that all our clients receive the justice and compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one is hurt in an accident, contact LDM.  We will meet with you personally to discuss and evaluate your accident claim, free of charge.  It can be very tempting to grab the first settlement offer that you’re given, but those initial offers rarely provide adequate compensation for your losses.

Quick offers are merely the insurance company’s attempt to lure you into a lowball settlement. Any settlement you accept must account for your current losses and future damages as well.  We will make sure of it.