How Are Future Lost Wages Calculated In A Personal Injury Claim?
When we talk about the kinds of injuries or damages that are awardable in a personal injury case, many people focus on the now, and the today—or at least, on the past. That makes sense—you have medical bills, expenses, lost wages, and of course, the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the accident.
Future Lost Wages
But what about the future? Specifically, what about lost wages? If your injury is serious enough, there is a good chance it could affect or alter your ability to work, or at least to make as much money as you once did. Those changes could be forever, depending on your injury and the type of work that you did.
Someone who is an attorney with a chronic neck injury may not have their income affected in the future much at all—although painful, the attorney likely could do legal work with neck or back problems. However, that same injury on a construction worker could mean the construction worker can no longer go back into the construction field.
Calculating Lost Wages
That’s why the law allows injury victims to recover future lost wages, and why they are an important part of any personal injury claim. Because we are talking about future lost wages, we have to look into the future, the best that we can. Some questions that attorneys will ask clients to evaluate whether they have a future lost wage claim may be:
- Will there be future medical care, treatment or procedures, which will keep the victim from being able to work in the future?
- Is the victim on medicine now that could keep the victim from being able to work? For example, a truck driver on painkillers, which may cause drowsiness, may never be able to work again, as you’re not supposed to drive on painkillers.
- What about degenerative disease? Many times, injuries that we have now can cause other muscles, bones and systems of the body to break down over time. Will that degeneration cut short an employee’s ability to work?
Questions to Ask
When we look at future lost wages, we are asking a few questions:
- Will the employee be able to work to a normal retirement age, or will the injuries cut short the worker’s years of work?
- Will the injury allow the worker to work, but keep the worker from advancing in their career, such as getting promotions, or rising to higher paying levels of work?
- Will the injury get better, and worse? That is, is there an “up and down” cycle of pain and disability, which could keep the worker from working for closed periods of time in the future?
Lost wage claims have to be tangible—that is, based on numbers and figures, for a jury to calculate an award. But if they can be demonstrated, future lost wages can be an important part of a personal injury claim.
We can help you recover the damages you have sustained in an accident. Call the Clinton personal injury attorneys at Fox Willis Burnette, PLLC, today for help.