When you are arranging a settlement in a personal injury case, you often wonder about all the different factors that can affect the dollar amount that you receive. You likely want to make sure you will be able to cover the bills and maintain a normal lifestyle while you are out of work – and support your family in the same way. Therefore, does your income level affect just how much compensation you receive?
The short answer is yes. Damages are the primary way to determine compensation in a personal injury case. The more money you make at work, the more wages and income you are missing out on in case of injury. Therefore you would be entitled to more damages. There are a couple things to account for when asking for damages related to lost income.
1. Current income. Even if you were able to use vacation days or sick leave at your job, it doesn’t mean you didn’t lose out on income – because you should have been able to use those benefits at your leisure. Calculate what you would have earned during time missed at work. Obtain proof in the form of pay statements and letters from human resources or your boss confirming the amount of income you would have made during the time of your injury.
2. Calculated future income. Your future earning potential could be damaged by your injury. For example, if you work as a construction worker, you might not be able to pursue that line of work any further, therefore affecting your future income. Factors such as how long the injury will affect you, what kinds of jobs you will have to pursue after your injury, or promotions you could have received if it were not for your injury should be taken into account.
If you are self-employed, calculating future income is more difficult. It makes it easier if you have been self-employed for some time. That means that you have a history of income that you can show to prove the amount you would have likely earned if not for your injury. You can also show proof of projects with clients you had lined up at the time of your injury in order to demonstrate how much you might have earned. Those clients may have had to cancel the project or use another freelancer because you were too hurt to do the work at the previously scheduled time.