Lost wages would be income you’d have earned had it not been for the injuries you suffered from an accident. In addition to lost wages due to an accident, California law entitles you to recover any anticipated future loss of income due to what is commonly known as “lost earning capacity.”
When it comes to lost wages and a loss of future income, both can be recovered through compensatory damages when the accident was caused by another party’s strict liability, intentional wrongful act, recklessness, or negligence.
Read on to find out how you or a loved one can recover lost wages due to personal injury from an accident, and then contact an experienced Orange County personal injury attorney for a free consultation on how you can file a claim.
What Are Lost Wages?
Lost wages generally refer to any money an accident victim has lost due to the accident and related injuries. To successfully claim loss of wages as part of your personal injury claim, your attorney must prove that your loss of income resulted from the accident and any injuries you may have sustained.
In short, California lost wages include any money you would have earned had it not been for the accident and any injuries you sustained.
Lost wages include any or all of the following:
- regular pay (based on either hourly pay or your salary)
- income from self-employment
- sick, persona, and vacation days
- any job-related benefits or perks (including free meals or car allowances)
The Differences Between Loss of Wages and a Loss of Earning Capacity
A lost wages claim is pretty straightforward.
When it comes to a personal injury claim seeking to recover lost wages after an accident, your attorney simply has to show how much income you lost due to injuries that prevented you from working. In this case, lost wages refer to the past; it is the income lost due to the personal injury. The dollar figure typically represents how much income was lost from the accident date until a settlement is made or an award is granted.
Your California personal injury attorney can also help you sue for any income you cannot earn moving forward due to your accident injury. This is commonly known as a “lost earning capacity” claim in California law.
A lost earning capacity claim can be a bit more challenging than a lost wages claim. Lost earning capacity claims in Orange County often require the testimony of an occupational expert, economist, and medical professional. Their testimony is crucial in accounting for future career development, bonuses, and raises that will be lost due to your injuries.
Proving Loss of Earning Capacity
In addition to calling expert witnesses, your personal injury attorney will need access to various documents and records to prove both a loss of income and loss of earning capacity. Records may include tax returns, paycheck stubs, W-2s, 1099s, or other tax documents.
Calculating Lost Wages
For an accident victim to recover lost wages due to an injury, California’s laws require that they prove how much of their earnings they have lost.
As mentioned above, the calculation and process are straightforward, especially when the personal injury results in a fixed, relatively short period away from work. However, expert testimony and additional documents may be required if you are paid based on work performance or were due for a pay increase.
Juries have also been known to award interest on top of lost wages in certain personal injury lawsuits involving lost wage claims.
Lost Wages Statute of Limitations in California
In most cases, California’s personal injury statute of limitations is two years. However, certain types of claims and injuries have varying statutes of limitation. For example, California’s statute of limitations on a medical malpractice claim can be just one year in some cases.
Your California accident attorney will be able to help you determine your eligibility to sue for compensation over lost earnings.
Next Steps in a California Lost Wages Accident Claim
If you or a loved one has lost wages due to an accident, the legal experts at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas can help you obtain the best monetary settlement, regardless of the type of accident that caused your injury. From medical malpractice cases and car accidents to slips and falls, our Orange County personal injury lawyers can help you recover lost wages.
Contact the experts at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas by calling 1-888-848-5084 to schedule a free, complimentary consultation regarding your lost wages claim.
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