A personal injury can lead to many different damages, including lost wages. Having to miss time at work, take unpaid time off, lose out on promotions, take a lower-paying job, move to part-time or stop working completely due to your injury could lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages over time. Recovering an award that equals your full amount of injury-related lost wages may be the only way to obtain the money your family needs. In a personal injury case, the burden of proving lost wages falls on you, the plaintiff.
Use Medical Expert Testimony
First, you or your Kansas City personal injury lawyer will need to establish your inability to perform gainful employment due to your injury. If you feasibly could have continued working after receiving medical care or with reasonable accommodations, the chances of recovering an award for lost wages will generally be lower. Many plaintiffs prove the necessity of staying home from work or switching to a lesser-paying job using medical expert testimony. An expert medical witness is someone with experience and skills that qualify him or her to testify on a subject – specifically, the type of injury you suffered. Medical testimony could help you prove that your injury or disability is enough to take you out of work.
Gather Lost Wage Documentation
Once you establish you had a valid reason to stop going to work or switch to a lower-paying position, you or your lawyer will need to prove the amount of your lost wages. This typically requires documentation supporting how much you used to make, how much you make now and how much your injury costs you in working wages. An insurance company or courtroom may accept many types of lost wage documents as proof or evidence.
Letters from your employer
Documents proving your absences from work
Pay stubs showing how much you used to make
Pay stubs showing what you make now at a lower-capacity position
Proof of special projects that would have increased your pay
A record of your raises or promotions
Any benefits you used
Lost perks or benefits
Proper documentation can help you prove the accuracy of the amount you are seeking in lost wage damages. Calculate your amount of past lost wages by multiplying your average daily wage by the number of days you missed from work. A lawyer can help you calculate your average lost wages and what your injury will likely cost you in future earnings. Then, your lawyer can help you prove these amounts using pay stubs, employment records and medical documentation.
Calculate Lost Future Capacity to Earn
Serious personal injuries could take you out of work for the foreseeable future. A long-term or permanent disability may interfere with your ability to ever return to your prior position or pay scale. The civil justice system enables you to request a compensatory award that covers not only your past wages but your foreseeable lost earnings as well.
Proving future lost capacity to earn also requires medical evidence, as well as proof as to why you or your lawyer believe you deserve the requested amount. This may take expert testimony, pay stubs, benefits documentation, former tax returns and a letter from your employer. With a permanent disability, you may be able to seek lost future earnings up to your projected age of retirement, with adjustments for promotions and inflation.
Hire an Attorney in Kansas City
Demonstrating and proving lost wages during a personal injury case can require many forms of evidence, as well as the testimony of medical experts, witnesses and/or employers. It can be difficult to convince an insurance company to offer a fair amount in lost wages for a serious, long-term or permanent injury. Your case may have to proceed to court for a reasonable compensatory award. Work with a Kansas City personal injury attorney from the beginning for assistance proving lost wages. A lawyer can improve the odds of obtaining an award that covers your past and future losses of income.