When you’re injured because of someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. Compensation may not be limited to reimbursement for medical expenses and property damage, especially if your injuries cause you to miss work.
Several types of compensation may be available in a personal injury claim, depending on the facts of your case. If you cannot work either temporarily or permanently, you can pursue compensation for lost wages and future lost earnings.
Lost Wages Versus Future Earnings
Though the terms might sound similar, lost wages and future earnings are two entirely different things. Lost wages or income includes the money you get paid from your job, as well as sick days, vacation time, and other perks.
Future earnings, by contrast, require looking forward in time to determine how much money you stand to lose over time due to the accident. For example, your future earnings could be jeopardized if you can no longer do your job or perform key functions at the same level.
While lost wages are straightforward, determining future earnings requires financial experts or accountants to review your case and deploy various financial models.
Calculating Lost Wages
Lost wages include your salary well as some extra items that may or may not be evidenced on your paycheck, including:
- Sick days
- Vacation days
- Perks (free lunches, events, memberships, etc.)
- Bonuses (for example, you would have likely received a bonus for performance if you had been able to attend work)
When you’re injured, you might burn through your bank of accumulated sick days and vacation time before returning to work, and you should be reimbursed for this loss.
To aid in a fair and accurate calculation of lost wages, providing as much documentation as possible is ideal. We recommend that you gather the following evidence:
- Tax returns
- A doctor’s note specifying when you can return to work
- Documentation from your employer confirming the number of workdays missed
Calculating Future Earnings
It’s not uncommon for there to be a projected loss of future income as well as lost wages in a personal injury case. You may experience a loss of future earnings if you are permanently affected by the injury and unable to work in the same profession or at the same capacity. Calculating this figure requires applying formulas based on your realistic earning potential without the injury.
As you can imagine, these calculations are speculative and typically require an expert witness to explore various scenarios, assign probabilities, and even predict the future economy. This task is no easy feat, and there are countless moving parts involved.
Here are some of the factors that an insurance company or court may consider when calculating future earnings:
- Whether you have a permanent, temporary or partial disability
- Whether you can be employed in a comparable position at the same salary after you return to work
- Whether you were employed in a field that required specialized training
- The number of years you would have worked if the accident had not happened
- The estimated dollar amount of cumulative lost opportunities, including pay increases, bonuses, or having a retirement plan
Contact an Experienced Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney Today
Many clients are surprised to learn that they may be able to pursue compensation for future earnings, not just lost wages. To discuss the compensation that could be available for your personal injury claim, contact the Law Offices of James A. Welcome for a consultation.