In order to recover to the fullest extent possible after being injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you’ll need to obtain the compensation that covers your physical, financial, and emotional losses in their entirety. One component of these losses includes your lost earnings, and in order to receive the compensation to which you are entitled, you’ll need to prove lost income, which can be a challenging process. One of the most important steps you can take in the protection of your rights and rightful compensation, however, is consulting with an experienced Austin accident injury law firm as soon after the injury-causing accident as possible.
What’s in This Guide
- Your Accident-Related Losses
- Your Lost Income
- Proving Lost Income
- Your Lost Earning Capacity
- Your Pain and Suffering
Your Accident-Related Losses
In the State of Texas, the losses you experience as a result of the other party’s negligence are called damages, and they break down into the following general categories:
- Any property damage, such as to your car in a car accident
- Your medical costs, which can include emergency transportation, surgery, rehabilitation, and pain management – and can be ongoing
- Your lost income, which can include lost earning potential into your future
- Your physical and emotional pain and suffering
In order to recover on each of these categories of loss, you’ll need to prove the extent of the damages you’ve suffered, which includes the need to prove lost income.
Your Lost Income
If you’ve been seriously injured, you’re going to need time off the job in order to tend to your physical and psychological recovery, which generally translates to lost wages. Proving lost income as it relates to days that you’ve missed on the job is fairly straightforward – you’ve missed a specific amount of time for which a specific wage or salary applies and that your pay stub clearly identifies. At its most basic, lost income refers to the income that you would have earned if you had been at work (instead of convalescing from the injuries you’ve sustained), but there is often more to it than that. Consider the following:
- There is also the accrual of vacation time and/or sick time (in direct relation to being off the job) that you’ve lost out on – or that you were forced to use for your accident-related absence – and that should be included in your efforts to prove lost income.
- There is the matter of any bonuses or commissions that you would have had the opportunity to earn if your injuries hadn’t stopped you from returning to work.
- Any overtime that you could have earned during the course of your absence can also be addressed in your lost income claim.
- If your time off the job interfered with a promotion or raise to which you would have been entitled, it’s another matter for your claim.
Proving Lost Income
Your personal injury claim can address lost income in all the following situations:
- You work full-time or part-time for an employer
- You are a salaried or hourly employee
- You are self-employed
Proving your income and documenting this aspect of your claim is generally less challenging if you work for someone else who can verify your income (and more). This can typically be accomplished with a letter from your employer that outlines the following details:
- Your job and title at the company in question
- The schedule you regularly work
- The salary or hourly wages you earn
- The amount of time you’ve been off the job (and the amount of time you’re expected to be off the job if your absence is ongoing)
If you are self-employed, you’ll need to gather all the relevant evidence necessary to represent the work you do and the extent to which you’ve lost out on earnings as a result of your injuries. Proving losses such as lost opportunities that affect you as a self-employed worker can be equally challenging but are just as important to address.
Your Lost Earning Capacity
Proving the earnings that you actually lost as a result of being off the job is one thing (and is complicated enough) but proving your lost earning capacity is that much more challenging. If your injuries are serious enough to interfere with your ability to do your job, they can also directly affect your ability to earn, including your ability to continue developing and growing your career. When it comes to calculating the losses associated with your earning potential, a wide range of factors are examined, but some of those that are most important include:
- The kind of job you have
- The level of skill required to perform your job
- The going market rate, value, or wage for the position you fill
- Your past earnings
- The years you have left to work (or that you would have left if your injuries hadn’t interfered with your ability to do your job)
- Your life expectancy
A careful analysis of each of these will go into the equation of calculating your lost earning potential, and ensuring that it clearly represents your losses in this important arena is critical.
Your Pain and Suffering
While your lost income is separate from the physical and emotional pain and suffering you’ve endured as a result of the other party’s negligence, the two kinds of loss can blur together. If your ability to continue pursuing the career that you’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into for many years is dashed, sidelined, or otherwise compromised, it can have serious emotional consequences that should not be ignored. Our careers tend to bolster our sense of self – and our unique place in the world – and if your career path takes a serious hit, so too can your psyche.
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An Experienced Austin Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Prove Lost Income
If someone else’s negligence has caused you to experience lost earnings and you need to prove lost income, the savvy Austin personal injury attorneys at The Patel Firm recognize the gravity of your situation and are well prepared to help. The outcome of your claim is important, so please don’t wait to contact or call us at 361-400-2036 to learn more about how we can help you today.