You can recover lost income in a California personal injury claim. Two subsets fall under lost income, and both are types of economic damages for which you may recover in your case.
Lost wages is the first one and is relatively simple to calculate. It includes what you would have earned had this accident not occurred. Personal injury accidents vary widely in terms of the severity of injuries that are incurred. Some victims may only miss days. On the other end of the spectrum, some may never return to the workforce again. If by the time damages are awarded, you have already returned to work full-time, it will be relatively simple to tally your lost wages.
What does Lost Wages Include?
There are several different types of income that fall under the lost wages category, including the following:
- Your regular pay, whether it is salary or hourly
- Overtime pay
- Self-employment income
- Vacation, sick, or personal days
- Any other perks or benefits that you lost, such as a company vehicle or free meals
Lost Earning Capacity
The other type of lost income after a slip and fall accident is known as lost earning capacity. Instead of looking to the past like lost wages, lost earning capacity looks to the future to determine your damages. It encompasses what you would have been reasonably certain to earn had you not suffered your injury. This fills in the gap for your diminished income resulting from your accident.
Lost earning capacity is the difference between what you would have made had you not been injured and what you will likely earn now. In general, the more severe and permanent a victim’s injury, the higher the average personal injury settlement.
For example, before the accident, you worked in a management role and earned $100,000 per year. However, the physical or emotional trauma you incurred in this accident may render it impossible for you to return to your former position. If you are relegated to a clerical role earning $50,000 per year, lost earning capacity damages would pay you an additional $50,000 per year to compensate you for your injuries.
In addition to the types of income mentioned above, under the lost earning capacity umbrella, you will also be eligible to recover raises and any 401(K) or profit-sharing contributions you would have received but for your accident.
Proving Lost Earning Capacity
Unlike lost wages, lost earning capacity can be more challenging to prove. It may require testimony from your employer regarding the quality of your work and future promotional opportunities. It may also help for a medical professional to testify what your health was like before the accident versus what it is like now– including how your injuries have impacted your ability to return to the workforce. An expert economist may help build your case by identifying industry trends and how they apply to you. Finally, a vocational rehabilitation expert would also be able to testify regarding your expected recovery and when and to what degree you will return to the workforce.
Hiring the Right Lawyer is Crucial
These cases can be complex, so our attorneys at Salamati Law always recommend that personal injury victims hire an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer to represent them. The right attorney will know which steps to take, which experts to consult, and which documents you need to maximize the financial value of your case.
Contact Our Team of Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers
If you have questions about recovering lost income in a California personal injury claim, call Salamati Law today to book your free consultation with one of our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there are upfront legal fees.