Recovering Lost Wages in a California Personal Injury Claim
Accident injuries can cause you to be unable to work either temporarily or permanently. If you have a physical job such as carpentry or you’re a professional dancer, you might never be able to do that type of work again. Back injuries can make it impossible to drive a car or sit at a desk for long periods of time. That’s why it’s important to know that you can recover lost wages from the parties responsible for causing your accident. The best way to find out how much money you can recover for lost wages in California is to speak to an experienced attorney about your personal injury claim.
Lost Wages v. Reduced Earning Potential
When you’re injured due to somebody else’s poor driving, unsafe conditions on their premises, medical malpractice, vicious animal or other negligent, reckless or intentional acts, you’re entitled to be reimbursed for your lost wages. This includes the value of lost sick days, vacation days and time off from work getting treatment for your injuries. If you are self-employed, you can collect lost earnings by showing that you made less money or that you had to hire somebody to replace you. Reduced earning potential is additional money that can be claimed for reduction in your ability to earn income during your lifetime. For example, if you were a construction worker doing highly skilled work that must now do much lower paid desk work, you are entitled to the value of the difference in income. Successful actors, models and athletes that can no longer work in their profession can collect extremely large amounts of money for the termination of their careers. Proving these claims requires an experienced California personal injury claim attorney and the services of a vocational expert.
The Lost Earnings Claim Process
The first step is to apply for disability benefits through your employer or to seek disability benefits from your insurance company if you’re self-employed. These benefits do not usually pay the full amount of your lost earnings, and careful records must be kept to present as evidence of your loss. You’ll need doctors to provide documentation and/or testimony to support your claim that the injuries you’ve suffered were severe enough to prevent you from working and were caused by your accident. Of course, you’ll also need to prove that the other party is actually responsible for the accident. Once these elements are proven, it’s usually possible to achieve a settlement with the responsible party’s insurance company that includes your lost earnings and lost earning potential damages. If a settlement cannot be reached, you have a right to take your case to trial to be decided by a judge or jury.
California Personal Injury Claim Attorney
Every case is different, that’s why it’s important to speak to an experienced California personal injury claim attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Deadlines can be short and evidence can be destroyed, so it’s important to call as soon as possible.