People who lose earnings because of accidents may be able to collect past and even future lost wages, whether by settling with an insurance company or by bringing a lawsuit. (Photo by Simon Law on Flickr.com)
If you’ve been in an auto accident that caused you to lose work, there are two ways to recover lost wages—through your insurance company or by bringing a lawsuit against the person responsible for the crash.
It is important to keep meticulous records about your time off work and your doctor and other medical visits. In addition your insurance company or a judge may require you to have an independent medical exam to verify the injuries and treatments. Some insurance policies require their customers to submit to such exams. If the fine print on the policy says an independent exam can be required, you can be denied wage recovery if you refuse.
You can Usually Collect Lost Wages
Usually accident victims can collect wages lost because of an accident, whether from the time of the accident until the resolution of the case or into the future. The amount of money you recover depends on how much you earn, the nature of your job, state laws and the details of the accident.
Another factor that goes into recovering lost wages is whether your file an insurance claim or bring a lawsuit. Damages can be awarded to a plaintiff (injured party) by agreement among himself, his lawyer, the defendant and his attorney and the insurance companies. Or the amount of monetary damages can be decided during a jury trial.
There are varying degrees of lost wages. People can collect damages for lost past wages. And sometimes people seek to collect for future lost wages, which can be difficult to calculate and which very well may be decided in a court of law.
If you think you will lose wages in the future because of an accident caused by another’s negligent driving, we advise you to seek the help of an attorney. A lawyer can help you get the maximum amount you have coming allowed under the law and given the circumstances of your case.
The personal injury lawyers of Krasney Law in San Bernardino and the Inland Empire are experts at getting our clients the maximum, not just in lost wages but in medical bills, pain and suffering and possible punitive damages.
Injuries may Require a Lawsuit
If you sustained major injuries and intend to bring a lawsuit for a lifetime of future earnings, this matter will likely be heard by a jury. If so, your attorney will hire an expert witness to testify on what you earned in the past, how much it is worth now and how much you likely would have earned if you had not been injured in the accident. Calculating future damages is a matter for experts, and at Krasney Law we find only the most qualified and professional expert to testify on behalf of our clients.
A court of law considers past earnings, your job, age, skills and how long you would be expected to live. Earnings capacity is based on what you have the potential to earn, not on past wages. An example of this is when the injured person is on a course to advance in rank and wages at his job, his future earnings capacity would be greater.
Settlement or Jury Trial?
In addition, you can bring an action for loss of future earnings even if you weren’t working. Courts can calculate how much you would have expected to earn even if you were not employed at the time of the accident.
If you are able to return to work, lost past wages fall into the category of special damages and are quite specific, as opposed to a subjective area like loss of consortium with a loved one or pain and suffering. You need to keep records of when you are unable to report for work, whether because of the injuries you sustained or because of doctor, therapy, attorney or court visits.
Diminished Earning Capacity
If you are able to return to work but can work shorter hours or earn less money than you did before for some other reason, such as changing a job, this too can be calculated by an expert.
If you were injured in an accident, please talk to an attorney before settling a case with an insurance company, and certainly allow a lawyer to read the settlement documents. He may see something that you did not know about, something that could cost you money. And remember, once you sign those insurance documents your case is closed.
If you’re injured in an accident, your insurance company may try to pay you less money than you deserve and may even act in bad faith. Insurance companies are in it for the money, not to help their policy holders.
Krasney Law: Free Consultation
If you or anyone else in the accident is injured, the best course is to contact your Inland Empire auto-accident attorneys at Krasney Law, (909) 380-7200. We will charge you nothing for an initial consultation, and we may arrange payment on a contingency basis. That is, we don’t get paid unless you accept a settlement or we go to trial.
If you were injured in and lost wages or suffered other damages from an automobile or other type of accident, please call us at (909) 380-7200. You may also contact us on the Web at http://krasneylaw.net/contact-us.