While direct medical expenses are essential in the short-term, future lost wages or loss of earning capacity claims can add a substantial amount to a settlement and impact how well a survivor can exist throughout a lifetime. In most cases, it is possible to recover future lost income following a serious personal injury in Virginia. This type of compensation is allowed, but it is often hotly contested by the opposing side, which is why it is crucial to work with Rutter Mills’ personal injury lawyers. We have a proven track record in achieving maximum compensation on behalf of injury victims so that they can focus on their recovery.
Who can claim future lost wages?
Victims of negligence, recklessness, or willful misconduct can claim future lost wages when:
- A medical doctor verifies the injuries sustained will have a permanent physical or psychological impact.
- The injured victim suffers intense physical pain and mental anguish due to the accident.
- Disfigurement, deformity, humiliation, or embarrassment will limit future job prospects.
- The injury survivor must quit working or change professions due to new physical or mental limitations.
- A homemaker cannot contribute to the household in the same capacity as before the injury.
Accident survivors can still claim “loss of future earning capacity” if they return to work but are not as alert, productive, or efficient at the job. They can also claim lost earning capacity if they were unemployed at the time of the accident but expected to return to work in the future. In some cases, individuals may change careers and make more money but may still file a valid claim due to losing the ability to choose how to earn a living.
What factors affect how much loss of future wages can be claimed?
In determining the amount of future wages to award, the courts will look at the following:
- The specific injuries sustained and the doctor’s prognosis
- The recovery process and the likelihood of injuries becoming permanent
- The profession held by the accident victim and the demands of that career path
- Work history before the accident, including the history of raises and advancements
- Salaries, wages, bonuses, sick leave, vacation time, benefits, 401k contributions, and advancements
- The injured victim’s life expectancy and remaining work-life expectancy
- The predicted cost of living increases, inflation, and future tax burden
- Current economic conditions, future market outlook, and future job availability
How are future lost wages determined in Virginia?
At the most basic level, the courts will take the current gross salary (not the net salary after taxes) — and multiply it by the number of years a person would typically work. For instance, a person earning $50,000 at age 35 should expect at least $1.5 million in future lost income for the 30 years they can no longer work. Additional amounts can be added based on the factors mentioned above.
Hourly workers or self-employed business owners can use tax returns to demonstrate annual earnings before the accident. Signed contracts may be used to verify work lined up before the accident that can no longer be completed due to physical and mental limitations.
It can be challenging to put a value on a person’s contribution to the household. Still, Virginia courts will consider housework like cooking, cleaning, childcare and guidance, yard maintenance, transportation, obtaining goods and services, and caregiving to other family members.
What can you gain in working with a lawyer for your lost future wages claim?
Whether you’re up against a negligent defendant or an insurance company, no one will take your word that you can no longer work to the total capacity. Even if you’re clearly in a wheelchair or horrifically maimed, the other side can dispute the impact of the injuries sustained and the value of the lost work.
At Rutter Mills, our experienced personal injury attorneys work with outside experts who can lend credence to your claim. Outside medical professionals can testify to the severity of your injuries and the potential for future incapacitation and verify the impact your recovery has had (and will likely continue to have) on your work. Our economic consultants are adept at providing a solid economic outlook, calculating the cash value of your health/disability/retirement benefits, and making an irrefutable case for inflation and cost-of-living adjustments.
Contact us at Rutter Mills for a free consultation
The burden of proof ultimately rests on the plaintiff in these cases, so you must hire a personal injury lawyer with the resources and determination to fight for maximum compensation. You pay nothing until we put money in your pocket. Call Rutter Mills for a free consultation.
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