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How to Prove Lost Wages in Your Personal Injury Claim

A question often asked when assembling a personal injury case is, “Can you sue for lost wages?” Understandably, when pursuing a claim, you’ll want to ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your losses.

In many cases, you will be able to sue for your lost wages as well as decreased earning capacity in the future. The next step is to prove and calculate those losses.

If you’ve been injured and another party is liable for your damages, you could benefit from hiring a personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney can properly calculate your losses and collect evidence to help prove your claim.

Can you sue for lost wages? The knowledgeable and dedicated attorneys at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi can find out and guide you through the process. Call (201) 585-9111 today for a FREE case review.

Can You Sue for Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Case?

In a personal injury claim, you may be able to recover damages for a variety of losses. However, the damages you’re entitled to will be specific to the circumstances of your case.

Economic, Non-Economic, & Punitive Damages

Typically, damages are divided into three areas: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic and non-economic damages are considered compensatory, meaning they are intended to compensate a victim for the losses they suffered due to their injury.

On the other hand, punitive damages are considered a punishment for the defendant rather than compensation for the victim/plaintiff. Punitive damages are very rarely awarded.

Economic damages are quantifiable. You can add them up and ask for a specific, provable amount in your claim. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Hospital/ambulance expenses
  • Physical therapy expenses
  • The cost of installation of special equipment
  • Cost of a caregiver
  • Repair or replacement of damaged or destroyed property
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity

Non-economic losses are more subjective. They do not have a specific monetary value. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Pain & suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Permanent disability or impairment

There is no cap on the amount of compensatory damages you can recover in New Jersey.

Lost Wages & Decreased Earning Capacity

Lost wages and decreased earning capacity are considered economic damages. If your injury and/or the resulting medical treatment caused you to miss work or use vacation/sick days, you should be compensated for the loss of income. You will need to provide evidence of these losses.

If your injury is severe and will have long-term effects on your ability to work in your same profession in the future, you may be eligible for compensation for those future earnings as well. Whether you are unable to work or unable to earn the same amount due to your injury, you deserve recompense for a decrease in your earning capacity.

How Do You Show Loss of Income?

To be awarded compensation for your loss of income, you must be specific and accurate. You will need to supply proper documentation for your requested damages, showing how you arrived at the exact value of your lost wages.

To prove that you are owed wages, you’ll want to provide documentation of your injury, including medical records, diagnosis, treatment plan, and any restrictions from your doctor. In addition, collect documentation of doctor’s appointments and surgeries.

You’ll also need a letter from your employer specifying your pay, the weekly work hours, and how much time you had to take off. Include any commissions and fringe or pension benefits you may have missed while out. Collect your pay stubs and tax returns as well. Lost wages are easier to calculate and prove than your future earning capacity is.

How Do You Calculate Future Lost Wages?

Even though quantifying your decrease in future earning capacity is more complex, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you calculate this value. The estimate will be based on your past earnings, occupation, age, skill, and life expectancy. Don’t forget to include any promotions, raises, or bonuses you expected to receive before your injury kept you from working.

You’ll need to produce documents showing your work profile, including but not limited to proof of the following:

  • Earnings (wages, salary, commissions, etc.)
  • Work experience
  • Education & training
  • Special skills & abilities
  • Certifications & licenses

Expert statements may be necessary to explain how your injury has impacted your ability to work. Medical experts can describe how your injury has changed your physical health. Vocational experts may explain the job requirements in relation to your physical restrictions. Finally, a job counselor or expert in your field can describe the difference in pay with your ongoing limitations.

The damages awarded are calculated by comparing your past earning capacity with your future earning capacity. A personal injury claim provides recourse if your potential earning power has decreased because of the injury suffered.

Can You Sue for Lost Wages on Your Own, or Do You Need a Lawyer?

Whenever you attempt to pursue compensation on your own behalf, you risk receiving far less than you deserve. Many personal injury victims worry about the cost of hiring a personal injury attorney. They don’t realize the attorney doesn’t make a dime unless you do.

With an experienced lawyer handling your case, you’ll have assistance managing deadlines and documentation, hiring experts, calculating damages, and more. You’ll have a representative to champion your best interests while you spend your time healing from your injury.

Read More: Why Is Having a Personal Injury Lawyer Important?

Can you sue for lost wages? Possibly. But suing with the help of a stellar firm like Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi is the best way to ensure you’ll get the maximum compensation for your case. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. We serve clients in New Jersey and New York.