The physical pain and emotional consequences of a serious injury accident can be truly devastating, particularly when compounded by the financial harm of lost wages and diminished earning capacity caused by the events at issue. Taken together, the situation for the victims and their families can be extraordinarily dire unless swift action is taken to obtain fair financial compensation. Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal has dedicated his practice to advocating on behalf of Coloradans whose lives have been upended by the negligence of others and stands ready to pursue every dollar of compensation his clients deserve.
Recovery of Lost Income in Colorado Personal Injury Cases
Among the multiple categories of recovery which may be available in a personal injury lawsuit, one of the most important is that of lost wages and income. Ongoing disability and recuperation times can take a massive toll on a victim’s ability to continue earning a living and supporting his or her family, and it is vital that all such losses be documented and compensation be pursued. A negligent party is responsible for reimbursing an injury victim for wages lost during recovery periods as well as for time away from the job necessitated by medical treatments. This is true for victims who are full-time employees, part-time workers, those who are regular or seasonal employees and individuals who are paid by the hour, receive salaries or who are self-employed.
Valuation of Income Losses
For those who are regular employees of another entity or individual, establishing the value of lost income is a relatively straightforward proposition. Documentation can be requested from the employer which will demonstrate the applicable rate of pay, typical hours and days worked, and the total time missed due to the accident and resulting injuries.
Individuals who are self-employed or work on irregular or seasonal schedules may have a slightly more difficult, but not impossible task before them. It will be necessary to demonstrate the amount of lost work time attributable to the accident and the amount of likely earnings had the event not happened at all. Evidence could take the form of canceled calendar appointments, a drop-off in invoicing and bank deposits and perhaps correspondence to and from clients explaining the inability to continue or accept new jobs. Tax returns from the prior year or perhaps even the previous few years can often serve as strong proof of income trends and probable earnings for the time period in question.
Vacation Pay and Sick Days
In order to keep income flowing into the household, many injury victims use up all of their accrued sick and/or vacation time while they are recovering from accident-related harm. It is important to note that even though no income may have actually been lost as a result of this decision, that does not mean that the injured party is not entitled to recoup monetary payment for that time. Had the accident not occurred, the sick and vacation time could have been used for any purpose of the victim’s choosing, and therefore still constitutes a loss that must be compensated.
Benefits, Commissions and Pension Contributions Lost
Because the benefits of employment for most people extend far beyond the wages paid, it is crucial for accident victims to know that they may also be able to recover payment for ancillary categories of loss including sales commissions they would otherwise have earned, anticipated bonuses, fringe benefits of various types, pension contributions, and pay raises that would have gone into effect had work not been missed.
Forfeited Advancement Opportunities
More difficult to prove, yet still valid as a potential source of recovery is the category of lost opportunities for career advancement resulting from the accident in question. Evidence of forfeited opportunities related to job growth or increased income could take the form of ongoing correspondence discussing a prospective venture, interview schedules which were subsequently canceled and the like. Though the actual quality of available information regarding the value of any missed opportunities will be critical to success concerning claims of this nature, it is certainly not unheard of for plaintiffs to receive compensation in this realm.
Reduction in Future Earning Capacity
A related, yet distinct category of income loss stemming from accidental injury is that which is often referred to as reduction in future earning capacity. Victims often find that it is difficult or perhaps even impossible for them to return to their prior line of work due to the lingering injuries or disabilities they now suffer, and such losses must also be compensated. Detailed financial records as well as expert testimony from an economic loss professional are routinely used to demonstrate the true impact of an injury on the plaintiff’s ability to earn at a rate comparable to what would have been possible absent the events in controversy.
Some key considerations in proving reduced future earning capacity are likely to include:
- detailed examination of the injuries suffered and projected time frame for recovery
- review of injury victim’s work history, educational background and special skills
- assessment of potential for rehabilitation if full recovery impossible and the impact on employability
- assessment of pre-accident employment duties, possibility of limited return to work and the subsequent effect on wage rates
- forensic examination of income that would like have been earned absent the injuries as compared to reasonable income expectations post-accident
- assessment of advancement opportunities that would have to be foregone due to physical/mental limitations
Relentless Pursuit of Compensation for Colorado’s Injured
Serious injury accidents all too often are life-altering events which can impact a family’s fortunes for years to come. In addition to the debilitating physical effects suffered by victims are the financial ramifications which can prove almost as crippling. Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal believes that those harmed by the negligent acts or omissions of others deserve an aggressive advocate who will fight for their right to be compensated for lost wages, reduced earning capacity and all other resulting damages.
If you or a loved one have been injured and wish to learn more about your options for legal recourse, we invite you to contact the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal by calling 303.825.2223.