In a personal injury lawsuit, you may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. So, what does that actually mean?
Economic damages are how you are compensated for actual losses that you have suffered. This can include lost wages, medical bills, and other medical expenses. Non-economic damages measure things such as pain and suffering and emotional trauma.
When it comes to lost wages, here are some of the factors that will be considered when your future claim goes to court:
- What was your pre-accident income level and your history of raises?
- Your job performance evaluations will be looked at for advancement potential.
- What is your education and training?
- Did you have plans for advancement based on your credentials and work experience before your permanent disability?
Even if you have only worked for a little bit of time or have never worked at all, you can still claim a high future earnings capacity as an injured person. For example, if you are a college student working towards a degree in an employable field, you can still be paid for future lost earnings, even if you have never held a full-time job.
Proving Your Lost Wages Claim
Proving lost wages in court requires a few different things that include:
- Pay stubs from most recent job and tax returns to show earnings capacity
- Proof of education and any training certifications
- Expert testimony about job progression in your specific field
- Expert testimony about inflation multipliers that can be applied to future earnings
- Medical testimony about how long injuries prevent you from working
- Proof of the value of fringe benefits that your job provides
Other Factors to Consider in a Continuation of Pay Claim
It’s important to understand that even if you are still able to continue working at the same job, you may still be entitled to lost future wages because of your accident. Your injuries could prevent you from further advancement or promotion.
For example, perhaps you need to take some extended time off from work in the near distant future to deal with the effects of your injuries. That may cost you the promotion you felt you deserved. This has the effect of potentially reducing your wages. Economic damages are intended to put you in the same exact position as if the accident never happened in the first place. Thus, you could still qualify for future lost wages as an accident victim if you can prove that you are earnings less than you otherwise would have.
Limitations on your Personal Injury Claim
It’s important to remember that even after your future lost wages are established in a lawsuit, they will still be reduced to account for present value of money. In other words, if you were to receive every penny today that you would have gotten in the future, you would be receiving a windfall. Accordingly, the court will apply some sort of factor that reduced your settlement or award to the present-day value of what you would have earned in the future.
The other factor that could limit what you would recover would be the fact that you will only be paid lost wages until the age of retirement. The age until you would have worked will be another point of dispute between the plaintiff and defendant. Your lost wages award may also be subject to income taxes or reduced to reflect vacation time.
Our experienced Miami and Naples accident attorneys at Weinstein & Cohen will put your priorities first. If you or a loved one has been injured or involved in an accident across South Florida or Southwest Florida, contact the accident lawyers and Miami and Naples personal injury attorneys at Weinstein & Cohen at 305-374-1011 or 239-793-3331. Or visit fairnessforall.com for an absolutely free legal consultation to learn more about your options.