Can I Recover for Lost Wages After a Florida Car Accident?
When you’ve been injured in a Florida car accident, the law allows you to recover under two categories of damages. They are economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that can simply be added up on a calculator. They include the following:
Past medical bills
Future medical bills
Past lost wages
Future loss of earning capacity
Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify. They are the human damages or more often referred to as “pain and suffering” damages. These damages include:
Pain and suffering
Disability or physical impairment
Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life
Lost wages are a component of recoverable damages in Florida. Lost wages include any uncompensated time missed from work as a result of your accident-related injuries. Therefore, if you missed work and your boss still paid you, your out of luck. Lost wages also include lost opportunities. A lost opportunity would be any income producing opportunity that you had to postpone or cancel as a result of your accident-related injuries. Such opportunities can include job interviews and sales presentations or meetings.
How Do I Prove Lost Wages?
The best way to prove your lost wages is with tax returns, pay-stubs, or other income documentation. This way the insurance company, or a jury (depending on how far your case goes) has something to compare your pre-accident income versus your post-accident income. If you are unable to produce this type of documentation, then your medical records (as long as a doctor verifies that you cannot work) can be used in conjunction with your testimony and possibly the testimony of others.
If you are claiming lost income due to a lost opportunity, it is best if you have documentation or someone who can confirm that the opportunity existed, and that you were in line for it. Although your testimony is technically sufficient to put forward a claim, an insurance company is unlikely to compensate you without other evidence.
What is Loss of Future Earning Capacity?
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may find yourself in a position where you’re not be able to continue with your current profession. Maybe you had a physically demanding job before the crash but, because of your injuries, you are now forced into a different job. If there is a difference in income between the two jobs, or if you are unable to make the same amount of money as you did pre-accident, you can make a claim for loss of future earning capacity.
In Florida, loss of future earning capacity is measured by your diminished ability to earn an income in the future, not your actual loss of earnings. In our example, your recovery would be limited to the difference in income, if any, between the two jobs. However, if you are unable to work at all, you can claim the entire loss of earning capacity until the time in which you would have retired. There is no set date for retirement in a personal injury case. The ultimate determination will be up to a jury and will depend on the evidence that is presented.
If you have questions about your Florida accident case, you can download our Free Reports:
which are available on our website, or you can click the link provided. You can also contact us at (813)419-3866 to talk directly to an Apollo Beach personal injury attorney now.