Returning to work is a top concern for many car accident victims. Everyone needs income to get the bills paid. So when a crash injury sidelines you, it’s natural to worry about how you will make ends meet.
The good news is that Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws allow injured people to file a lost wage claim when they cannot work after a crash. The wage benefit is 85 percent of your gross income before taxes are deducted but is subject to state monthly maximums and is limited to three years. In 2022, the maximum monthly benefit is $6,065. If your injuries result in permanent disabilities that prevent you from working, you will need long-term income from another source.
Fortunately, you’re not necessarily out of options. Michigan personal injury law enables car accident victims to seek compensation for the loss of future earnings through a third-party lawsuit. With help from an experienced Ann Arbor car accident attorney at Christensen Law, you could potentially recover additional money by suing the at-fault driver.
Get legal advice from one of our trusted car accident lawyers today. Call or contact us now for a free case review.
Lost Income and Car Accident Damages in Ann Arbor
Lost income refers to the money you cannot earn while recovering from your injuries. Your lost income is typically the average amount of money you would have made during the period in which you cannot work. For example, if your average income is $1,000 per week and your injuries prevent you from working for six weeks, your lost income would be $6,000 and your wage loss benefit would be $5,100. If your wage loss exceeds the monthly benefit cap or will last beyond the three years that no-fault pays your wage loss, then the at-fault driver is responsible for your excess wage loss.
Like most of us, your job is your financial lifeline. If an accidental bodily injury cuts off your access to the income you depend on, your lost wages insurance benefit can keep you afloat until you can return to work. But if your injuries are particularly severe, you might be unable to perform your duties. A change in position or the total inability to work could cost you desperately needed income. In these cases, a personal injury lawsuit for future income loss may be the best option to pursue full and fair compensation.
How to Calculate Loss of Future Earnings for Employed Workers
Calculating your loss of future earnings involves looking at multiple factors. Determining excess lost income is one part of the equation, but you must also account for future raises, bonuses, benefits, paid time off, and new career opportunities you might have had if the accident never happened. And what if you can work, but not in the same position or career field you did before the crash? This is where a lawyer’s advice is particularly valuable.
A car accident attorney can start by estimating your potential loss of earnings by compiling your previous earning history, educational background, skills, and standard of living. They will then build a compelling case outlining how much income you might lose for the duration of your working life. These calculations require the use of expert witnesses in the lawsuit.
Calculating Wage Loss for Self-Employed Workers
If a person is self-employed, calculating wage loss is more challenging. While tangible losses are still relatively straightforward to calculate, intangible losses are not. Depending on what you do for a living, being away from your career can mean losing clients, productivity, and opportunities. If you act as your own boss, your actual wages may only represent a portion of your total wage or income loss.
A car accident lawyer in Ann Arbor can estimate the value of your wage loss if you are self-employed. Numerous tax documents and financial statements will be necessary to determine what your future wage loss is truly worth.
How to Prove Loss of Future Earnings
Proving loss of future earnings is difficult because it involves speculation. No one has a crystal ball that can glimpse into the future. Lawyers must use current and historical information to predict what a person would potentially have earned if they could remain in the workforce.
First, you must demonstrate that the car accident caused a significant injury or impairment that prevents you from returning to your job in the same capacity as before the crash. Medical documentation from your physician, hospital records, test results, and rehabilitation reports are essential to prove you cannot work.
You must also establish your work and income history. Documents that may help support your claim include:
- Letter from your employer
- Pay stubs
- Tax returns
- W-2 or 1099s
- A disability certificate from your doctor
- Employer benefit policies or bonus structure outlines
You may also need to provide information on your educational history, certifications you’ve earned, and commission statements. An expert witness provided by Christensen Law will do the calculations for you.
Get Help from a Car Accident Lawyer in Ann Arbor
How long does it take to get lost wages from a car accident claim? When you are out of work and counting on that money to support yourself, that question is very important. Losing wages is stressful and may jeopardize your financial stability.
Turn to the legal team at Christensen Law for help. Our experienced attorneys can explain who pays for lost wages after an accident, how long it takes to get lost wages paid, and whether you have grounds to file a lawsuit for loss of future earnings.
The first consultation is free. Call or contact us online now to get started.