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Lost Wages and Future Earnings: Recovering Income in Southfield Car Accident Claims

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What Are the Steps to Recovering Lost Wages After a Car Accident?

When people think of car accident claims, they often think of the physical damage to the vehicle. They may be concerned about whether their car will be totaled or how long they will be without it while it’s repaired if they are in an accident. While these types of physical damages to a vehicle can be stressful and inconvenient to deal with, if you are injured in a car accident, you may face larger issues.

Depending on the nature of the car accident and your injuries, you could deal with medical needs for weeks, months, or even years. You may be out of work for that long or unable to earn an income to the degree that you did before your car accident. In such cases, a personal injury attorney can help you understand what your options are for seeking compensation and how you might go about seeking reimbursement for the income that you have lost or will likely lose in the future.

What Are Lost Wages?

Lost wages refer to how much income you would have likely earned if the car accident hadn’t happened and you did not sustain injuries from it. This can be broken into two broad categories: the wages you have already lost—or are actively losing—and the income you might lose in the future.

Current Lost Wages

Current lost wages are fairly easy to demonstrate. For example, if someone makes $20 per hour and normally works 40 hours per week, there is a specific amount of income they are missing out on if they can’t work. Say they have been out of work for 10 weeks. That’s $8,000 in lost wages.

You might also include other forms of compensation in current lost income. If, at the time of the personal injury lawsuit, a person has been out of work for over a year and has also lost their access to health insurance benefits and other perks of a compensation package, the value of those perks might be included in their claim for lost income.

Future Lost Income

If you have sustained injuries that are likely to keep you from working in the future, you may want to include future lost income in your claim. This takes a bit more effort, as you will need to determine how long you are unlikely to be able to work and what your career path and income growth might have been.

For example, that hypothetical person who makes $20 per hour now might not expect to make $20 per hour for the rest of his or her career. If they normally get a raise of 3 to 5 percent each year, five more years of working would mean at least an hourly wage of $23. A personal injury attorney can help you understand how to apply these types of calculations to understand what future income you might lose due to an accident.

What Are Some Common Steps in Seeking Compensation for Lost Wages?

While every case is different, and your personal injury legal team can help you understand the right steps in your situation, there are some common efforts that occur in any case involving lost wages.

Deciding Who to Seek Compensation From

In some cases, personal protection insurance may cover some limited work loss due to injuries in an accident. However, this coverage will not pay for income losses that occur over three years from the date of the accident. Aside from that coverage, you may need to seek compensation from the at-fault driver or drivers in the accident.

Gathering Evidence

You will need to build an argument in favor of the compensation amount you’re seeking. That means gathering evidence that shows you cannot work and what income you would have earned if that wasn’t the case. Evidence in such cases can include:

  • Medical records. Your medical files help demonstrate the severity of your injuries and can provide proof that doctors didn’t release you to work or to full duty.
  • Expert testimony. In some cases, your attorney may depose your physician or other medical experts so they can speak to the extent of your injuries and provide expert opinions on how those injuries impact your ability to work.
  • Financial records. Pay stubs, tax documents, and other financial records can be used to demonstrate how much you normally make. This helps demonstrate the amount you lost due to injuries.
  • Testimony from your employer. If you are trying to make a case for loss of future compensation, testimony from your employer can be valuable. They can speak to whether you would have had opportunities for promotions or raises in the future.

Negotiating a settlement

Many times, insurance companies are willing to offer a settlement to avoid dealing with a case in court. You will need to review any offer to determine if it is reasonable. A lawyer can provide guidance on whether an offer covers your damages and what you might be able to seek if you move forward with your lawsuit.

Reach Out to a Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Today

If you’re unable to work because of injuries you sustained in a car accident or another type of incident, we may be able to help. Contact Sigal Law today by calling 248-671-6794 to talk to our team about your case.

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