In todays fast paced world, the tiniest inconvenience can ruin your whole day, and getting into a major accident can seriously disrupt months to years of your life. Trying to balance your work, personal life, and other relationships can already be difficult, but balancing medical treatment on top of that can be extremely difficult. This is why among other various damages, you may be able to claim lost wages in a personal injury claim. Two forms of financial losses can be claimed, these being, lost wages and your lost earning capacity. While these are related, they differ in their nature and the way that they are calculated. In this article we will be delving into how these claims work, and clarifying these concepts to help anyone involved in a personal injury claim.
Lost Wages: Immediate Income Losses
Lost wages refer to the actual and immediate income that you lose due to your inability to work as a direct result of your injury. Lost wages are a pretty straightforward concept: if you are injured and can not work, then the income you would have earned during that period of time is your lost wages. These losses can be documented through past pay stubs, tax returns, as well as employment records. Employers can often provide verification of your lost work time and corresponding loss in wages.
If you have irregular income or are self employed, this calculation may involve averaging your past income or examining trends before the injury. Lost wages can also include the value of lost benefits such as sick leave or vacation days that were used due to the injury, as well as potential overtime and bonuses that you may have likely earned.
Lost Earning Capacity: Future Income Potential
On the flip side, lost earning capacity is a much more complex and speculative concept as it represents the reduction in your ability to earn money in the future as a consequence of your injuries. This calculation considers several key factors, these being:
- Current Earnings: This takes into account the current earnings of the individual at the time of the injury, providing a baseline for assessing loss.
- Future Earnings Potential: This considers the injured person’s potential for future earnings, this includes any raises, promotions, and career grown that would have been likely without the injury.
- Duration of Work Life: This involves estimating how long the individual would have continued their work had it not been for their injuries.
- Injury Impact: The extent to which the injury impacts the person’s ability to work in their current job or at any future jobs.
- Inflation and Economic Changes: Future earning capacity calculations tend to account for inflation as well as any potential changes in the economy.
- Expert Testimony: Often, expert witnesses such as economists, vocational rehabilitation specialists, or occupational therapists are brought to provide detailed analyses and projections.
The aim of this calculation is to give a reasonable estimation of the income that you may have lost due to your injuries.
Key Differences and Legal Considerations
There are a few primary differences between lost wages and lost earning capacity, and these lie in their time frame and certainty. The primary difference between lost wages and lost earning capacity is how quantifiable they are. Lost wages are concrete and therefore easily quantifiable as it focuses on the income that has been lost from the time of injury to the time of the settlement or trial. While lost earning capacity is more speculative as it is focuses on the potential earnings that have been lost using complex projections to justify these losses.
In legal terms, both forms of damages are crucial in ensuring that injured parties are fairly compensated. Accurate documentation and expert testimony play vital roles in substantiating these claims in court or during settlement negotiations.
Should I Hire an Attorney to Help With my Lost Wages?
Hiring an attorney can make a personal injury claim much simpler, as a skilled personal injury lawyer will help you manage your case from beginning to end so you can focus on treatment. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know the ins and outs of how to maximize a personal injury claim and will fight tirelessly to make sure you receive the full compensation that you deserve.
At LifeLaw Personal Injury we believe in a client centered approach, where your case is given individual attention, and where you feel you are heard. Our team of the best car accident lawyers in Salt Lake City understands the financial burden that injuries can impose, and we are committed to helping our clients secure the compensation that you need for both immediate and future financial stability. If you or someone you know has been injured, let our team of Salt Lake City car accident lawyers help you navigate the legal process with confidence and ease. We are your Salt Lake City law firm here to help you every step of the way.
Contact us today for a free consultation! 801-206-4002