This is money awarded to you to help pay for the economic and non-economic losses that you incurred as a result of your accident-related injury. Economic losses are verifiable, such as lost wages and a loss of future income.
What Is the Difference Between Lost Wages and Future Income?
Although they sound the same, lost income and loss of future income are two different types of income. A person who suffers a temporary disruption in their ability to go to work may be entitled to compensation that helps make up for the income they lose up until the point they return to work again. This is called lost income.
For example, after an auto accident-related injury, you may only be able to work two to three hours a day for several weeks instead of eight hours a day, five days a week. Lost wages compensation should cover the amount of money you lost from the time you became unable to work until you’re able to return to work full time.
Some people suffer an accident-related injury that leaves them unable to work any job or limits the type of work they can do for the foreseeable future. In this instance, you may be awarded compensation for a loss of future income or a loss of future earning capacity.
An award of this type assumes that if it had not been for the accident-related injury, you would have been able to continue in the same career and that you had a reasonable expectation of a specific salary or wage. When you’re unable to return to your career, compensation for loss of future income can help make up for the wages you will no longer be able to earn.
How to Prove Loss of Future Income
To demonstrate that you have lost future income because of the accident-related injury, you must provide documentation. The evidence you provide must show:
- You are unable to return to work or pursue your career path or have a diminished ability to earn an income.
- Your inability to return to work is directly related to the injuries you sustained in the accident.
- You must show what your future income potential would have been.
Each of these factors must be proved with documented evidence. For example, if you can work at the time of a lawsuit, your doctor must show reasonable evidence that your condition is medically expected to deteriorate and will therefore impact your ability to work. In a lawsuit, the court will also want evidence of specific factors that impact the court’s decision. These include:
- Current information that may impact your future income, such as age, occupation, work history, and earning history.
- Documented evidence of the severity of the injury and medical estimation of the likelihood that you will improve or deteriorate.
- Evidence that there is a temporary or permanent disability and how it was related to the accident.
- Documented evidence that you were unable to return to work between the accident and the trial. This can include paycheck stubs, documentation from your employer, W-2 forms, and other proof of income.
- Evidence that your accident-related injury left you unable to complete your job responsibilities. For example, you may have lost use of your right hand, which would be necessary if your work involved the use of a mouse and keyboard.
Your attorney will decide whether witness testimony is necessary to provide evidence. Expert testimony is helpful for victims who work in non-traditional roles. Experts could include a vocational rehabilitation expert or an expert in your professional field who can testify to the salary trends and what the future job prospects likely are based on your injuries.
What If I’m Self-Employed or a Student?
It can be more difficult to prove the loss of future income when you’re self-employed. Income for self-employed individuals often fluctuates more than for traditional workers. Using past financial records can help show trends in annual income. Your attorney may also find expert witnesses who can testify to how the business would perform in the future, considering the current market.
Students have some of the same difficulty proving a loss of future income. People who are just starting their careers must show their education level, intentions, and goals for the future. Even without evidence of past earnings or work performance, an experienced personal injury attorney could present a strong case for lost future earnings.
Contact Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers for Help Today
If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, you might be entitled to compensation that will help cover your lost wages and lost future income. It is crucial that you work with an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney who can fight for your rights and represent you while negotiating with an insurance company or presenting your case before the court.
The award-winning attorneys of Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers recognize that it is about getting results for you. Our firm has recovered over $425 million for our clients. We understand the fears and concerns that accident victims face as they consider the future. Contact our office today at (973) 364-8300 for a free consultation and case evaluation. You’ll sit down with one of our experienced attorneys who can review your case, answer your questions, and ease your fears.Written by: Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers Last Updated : December 5, 2022