Wage Loss Damages In A Personal Injury Dispute
If you’ve been injured due to the fault of another, then the law may give you a right of action to sue and recover damages. If you are employed and are forced to miss work due to the injuries you sustained, then the damages claim is very likely to include what is referred to as “wage loss” damages.
In cases where wage loss damages are available, they tend to comprise a major portion of the total damages claim. Effectively arguing for wage loss damages is therefore necessary to obtain full and adequate compensation.
Let’s take a closer look.
Past And Future Wage Loss
Wage loss can be split into two sub-categories: past and future.
Past wage loss accounts for the wage loss that you — the plaintiff — sustained already due to accident-related injuries. For example, suppose that your legs were seriously fractured in a car accident. As a construction worker, you were forced to take six months off before you could return to work. Your past wage loss claim would account for the income you “would have” earned had you actually worked for those six months.
To support your past wage loss claim, you’ll want to introduce proof that you were forced to take the time off from work (i.e., medical records, testimony from a vocational expert explaining what the requirements of the job are, etc.) as well as how much money you lost as a result (i.e., pay stubs).
Future wage loss accounts for the wage loss that you will sustain. Let’s return to our previous example. Suppose that your injuries are sufficiently severe that you will be forced to take three more months off in order to completely rehabilitate. You haven’t yet taken that time off, but you intend to do so. Though you haven’t yet suffered “damages,” you’ll be able to claim those damages by proving that you will, in fact, have to take the time off in the future due to your injuries.
Loss Of Future Earning Capacity
Claiming loss of future earning capacity is a unique and powerful tool for disputes that involve severe, career-altering injury. Put simply, the loss of future earning capacity is meant to account for career-long shifts in how much you could potentially earn, as the trajectory of your career might have been altered by severe injury.
This can be difficult to understand, so let’s use a brief example for clarity.
Suppose that you are injured in a slip and fall accident at a popular retail store. You suffered serious back injuries. Now, you normally work as a hospital nurse. Due to the back injuries, however, you cannot stand up and walk around for more than 15 minutes at a time. This limitation will follow you for the rest of your working life.
Thus, not only are you forced to miss time for work (past and future wage loss), but your career trajectory is altered. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to work as a nurse again, given your physical limitations. Most clinics and hospitals are unlikely to accommodate your inability to be “on your feet.”
There may still be some options for you to shift into a different career path in the healthcare field. A desk job may be possible, though it may also pay less (on average) and may have fewer promotional opportunities. When claiming loss of future earning capacity, you’ll have to compare your new, alternative career path (earnings potential) with the earnings potential of your previous career path. That difference can and should be compensated by the liable defendant.
Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer In Our Network For A Free Consultation
If you’ve been harmed in an accident that was caused by another’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct, then you could be entitled to significant damages, including damages for wage loss. Wage loss claims can be surprisingly complicated — as such, it’s important that you work with an attorney who understand how to effectively navigate this challenge.
Call us today to connect to a qualified personal injury attorney in your area for a free and confidential consultation — our staff are standing by 24/7, ready to help you connect to an attorney in just 10 minutes or less.
We look forward to speaking with you.