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Determining Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Claim

proving lost wages in a personal injury case

If you suffer the results of a personal injury accident, you may have to spend some time on the mend. An auto accident may render you unable to walk without assistance; a dog bite means you can’t use your hand; a slip and fall accident may keep you in bed for some time because of a slipped disc.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to go back to work when you are in pain, immobile, or can’t use your hands. As a result, your family could face a financial crisis.

In a personal injury action, a plaintiff is entitled to recover lost earnings and the value of his reduced ability to earn a living wage, also known as impairment of earning capacity.

Lost wages are just one of the avenues of compensation we will include in our action against the at-fault party whose negligence led to your losses. We will also seek medical expenses, pain and suffering, and any other financial losses you have suffered due to an accident that was not your fault.

J. Allan Brown understands that we may need to hire experts to calculate the present value of your lost wages within a reasonable degree of economic certainty. If your losses are vital to your family’s needs, call our Mobile office to discuss how we may work on your behalf.

Past Lost Wages

If your injury is severe, you may have been hospitalized, undergone surgery, had therapy, or required ongoing medical treatment. You will miss work during this time and spend resources traveling to and from a doctor’s office. 

To prove the claim, you must keep records on the number of days you missed work along with the reason why. Medical records will have a date, as will therapy appointments. You should calculate the distance to and from the medical appointments as that represents a loss to you. Any equipment you have to buy or rent needs to be compensated.

As far as quantifying what you have lost, pay stubs and income tax documents will show what you would have earned had you not missed work due to your injury.

Future Lost Wages

You are thrown from a car during a collision and sustain a traumatic brain injury. This sort of serious injury makes it very tough to return to health and has the potential to impact your future earnings. If your life is shortened or you can only work part-time due to your injury, we will need to calculate a reduction in future wages as part of your compensation.

To claim this, we must prove that your injury is serious, life-altering, and permanent.

Medical – A medical expert can testify whether you can work in your present health stage and what the future might hold. Can you make a full recovery or not? What are your limitations? With specific medical care, what are the chances you may regain some of your previous capacity?

At trial or during negotiations, our experts will testify about your future earnings potential and your physical capacity to return to work.

Earnings – We need to establish what you might have earned if you were not injured, in other words, future diminished earning capacity. Hiring an expert helps us quantify what your earnings might have been had you not been injured with a degree of certainty. We will need to add lost employee benefits such as health, dental, vision, and disability insurance, as well as the employer contribution to retirements funds and government programs.

In the case of wrongful death, a forensic economist can be brought in to calculate the lost earnings. Alabama statutes allow only for punitive, not compensatory damages in a wrongful death personal injury case.

Contact J. Allan Brown, Personal Injury Attorney

If you have lost wages due to an accident caused by the at-fault party, you need to call the Mobile law office of J. Allan Brown. He has over a decade of experience helping people recover what they have lost due to a personal injury. 

Please do not try to go it alone as there are many complexities in the law that you will need to discuss. Call our Mobile office at (251) 473-6691 for an initial complimentary consultation.


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J. Allan Brown, LLC
Law Office of J. Allan Brown, LLC, is located in Mobile, AL and serves clients in and around Mobile, Bucks, Satsuma, Eight Mile, Semmes, Spanish Fort, Citronelle, Theodore, Saraland, Montrose, Irvington, Saint Elmo, Wilmer, Point Clear, Grand Bay, Chunchula, Fairhope, Creola, Bayou La Batre, Axis, Coden, Bay Minette, Silverhill, Baldwin County and Mobile County.
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