Determining Lost Wages in a Personal Injury CaseTrusted Content
Legally reviewed by:Erik Abrahamson, J.D. November 16, 2018
If you’ve been seriously injured as the result of someone’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for the damages you’ve sustained. Included in these damages may be any wages you lost because an injury forced you to remain out of work or will force you to miss work in the future. This is known as lost wages.
Past Lost Wages
When you’ve been injured by negligence, you might miss work because of surgeries, hospitalizations, and other medical treatments. You might also miss work due to any follow-up doctor appointment. Missing days of work can cause financial difficulties for some accident victims, and they may deserve compensation for these lost wages.
To prove lost wages, there must be some evidence that you missed work as a direct result of your injury caused by negligence. This can be proven with medical records. Pay stubs and copies of income tax documents may be necessary to show the total amount of the wages lost.
Future Lost Wages
If you sustained a serious injury that will impact your ability to work in the future, you might be able to recover for future lost wages. Future lost wages are typically calculated as a loss of income based on what you would actually have earned in the future. To prove lost wages in the future, you must prove that the injury you sustained as a result of the accident is permanent and that there is some reasonable probability of further loss of earnings.
Diminished earning capacity may lead to a loss of future earnings caused by a salary reduction or an inability to work. Your salary could be reduced because now you are only capable of working part-time or you are no longer able to work at the same type of job at the same salary. You may be able to recover future lost wages based on whatever difference there is between what you earned before the accident and what you are capable of earning in the future.
Proving diminished earning capacity typically involves the use of expert witnesses who will analyze your situation and issue an opinion on what they believe you would have made if your injury had not changed your circumstances. The necessary evidence may include:
- Medical expert opinions about whether a full recovery from your injury is possible and how long that may take.
- If you do not fully recover from your injuries, there may be medical expert testimony giving an opinion on what your current capabilities and limitations might be.
- Evidence of how any injuries might affect your ability to perform the job you had prior to the accident
- Financial expert opinion comparing what your income may have been had you not been injured and what you could reasonably expect to have earned in the future post-injury.
Contact a Trusted Attorney
If you have been seriously injured as the result of someone’s negligence, you should have an experienced attorney evaluate your case. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.