Can I Recover Past or Future Lost Wages/Income in a Personal Injury Case?
I'm missing work. I lost my job. Can I recover my lost wages? What about future wages?
These are all difficult and trying realities confronted by those injured in car accidents, or other personal injury-causing events. Of course, the answer is "Yes". If you are injured by the negligence of another and are kept out of work by a doctor, the wages you've lost are recoverable. For less severe injuries, I frequently see situations wherein the injured person is able to return to or keep working, within limitations on lifting or other activity. If you are given a "light duty" or part-time duty restriction by your doctor, you're entitled to recover the difference between what you actually make, and what you would have made working full duty. An experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer can assist you in recovering your lost wages. But it is not always easy. A similar, but more complex situation is presented where someone is seriously injured, and can no longer return to their former employment for medical reasons, or were terminated from their job? The burden of proof is higher, and the evidentiary requirements are more stringent, but
....in appropriate circumstances, a significantly injured plaintiff may recover for a loss of future earning capacity.
The nature of this claim is explored in another chapter in this series. In this situation, a personal injury attorney will always have a discussion with his or her client about the obligation to diligently look for work and keep records. "The duty to mitigate damages serves to reduce the amount of damages to which a plaintiff might otherwise have been entitled had he or she used all reasonable efforts to minimize the loss he or she sustained as a result of a breach of duty by the defendant." Hopkins v Silber [Md. App., 2001] [citations and internal quotations omitted].
In the context of lost wages, this concept means that an injured plaintiff looking to recover future lost wages, if and when healed, must almost always look for work that is available to them within any limitations imposed by there injury.
Lost wage claims can become intricate. I would encourage any injury victim wanting to pursue this type of claim to consult an experienced personal injury attorney to determine the amount of the lost wage claims, and what will be necessary to prove it.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 3/6/19.