The US saw 42,795 fatal car accidents in 2022. That’s almost 43,000 lives lost due to completely avoidable reasons. Despite improvements in technology and safety devices, the number of accidents doesn’t seem to be coming down.
There are numerous consequences that a victim of a car accident will probably suffer. Injuries are the most common ones. But there is one type of damage that has a devastating impact on a person. Lost wages.
What are Lost Wages?
Lost wages are pretty much what the name implies. It is the wages a car accident victim loses when they’re recuperating from their injuries. Employment benefits the victim would’ve received are included as well.
Their income is the second thing (the first being their health) that takes a massive blow after a car accident. The victim needs money to handle all the expenses that arise due to the car accident. This includes:
- Hospital visits and stays
- Specialist treatments
You also have to keep in mind that all these expenses happen on top of the victim’s existing expenses. So if the victim is someone who lives paycheck-to-paycheck, their situation will be pretty depressing.
Impact of Car Accidents on the Victim’s Income
Car accidents can be quite nightmarish. But for some, the nightmare only begins when they find they’ll be confined to the bed for the next few weeks or months. This means that the victim will be unable to work. This can be quite stressful considering the fact that the victim has a lot of expenses to take care of on top of their day-to-day expenses.
The piling bills also wreak havoc on their personal life. Relationships suffer as bills increase by the day. The rising bills have an impact on the mental health of the victim as well. All this can prove disastrous in the long run.
The lack of finances is also what prevents some victims from approaching a lawyer and seeking justice. Most experienced car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. In this arrangement, the lawyer won’t charge any fees upfront from the victim. Instead, the lawyer’s fee will be based on the case’s outcome. This means that the lawyer will get paid only if they win the case.
The services of a car accident lawyer are very important, especially when it comes to proving future lost income.
Lost future income is a concept where a car accident victim can claim damages for their inability to perform their job-related duties like before (pre-accident levels).
Consider the example below for a better understanding.
Brad is a chef who spends long hours on his feet preparing food. He is involved in an accident that breaks his right arm. Brad takes time off from work to recover from the fracture. Even after the cast has been removed, Brad is unable to work like he used to. His right arm feels weak and tires pretty quickly. He cannot carry heavy things like he used to. Brad is a good candidate for lost future income.
Proving Lost Income and Lost Future Income
Although both are related, the victim needs to provide separate evidence to have them included in the compensation. The sections below discuss the evidence you need to submit to prove both.
- Evidence required
- Medical records that prove the extent of the victim’s injuries
- Proof of employment
- Wage slips
- Number of days the victim missed work
- The amount the victim would’ve earned if they weren’t injured
Loss of Future Income
- Evidence Required
- All evidence submitted for lost income
- Proof of reduced efficiency at performing job-related duties
- Proof of reduced working hours after the accident
- Proof of past wages
- Doctor’s statements that back the victim’s statements
- Written testimony from the victim’s employer
Alongside physical injuries, car accident victims also suffer financial stress, which often deters them from seeking legal recourse. But what victims don’t realize is that an experienced lawyer is the key to getting them out of this tricky situation.
In addition to determining liability and preparing an estimate for the victim’s losses, a car accident lawyer will also assist in calculating lost wages. Additionally, they will find expert witnesses who can link the seriousness of the victim’s condition with their job performance.