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Proving Lost Wages After a Car Accident in Louisiana

Posted in Car Accidents on September 3, 2021

A car accident can disrupt many aspects of a victim’s life, including their ability to perform their job responsibilities while you recover or in the future. If another party was responsible for your accident, they are responsible for these damages.

Read on to learn more about securing recovery for lost wages after a car accident in Louisiana.

Who Is At Fault?

The first step to recovering for lost wages is proving that another party’s negligent or willful action caused the accident. Negligence is any action outside a normal standard of care that would be exercised by similarly situated individuals.

Consider each of the following parties for liability:

  • Negligent Driver: If another driver’s negligent or intentional actions caused the accident, they are responsible for your damages, including lost wages. Any action outside a reasonable standard of care constitutes negligence. A violation of a traffic rule or regulation is strong evidence of negligence. Common violations include speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence, and failing to comply with any traffic sign or signal.
  • Employer: If a negligent driver is performing their job duties at the time of the accident, their employer is responsible for their negligent actions. An employer is likely to have a more comprehensive insurance policy than the driver’s personal insurance policy.
  • Vehicle Manufacturer: If any vehicle defect or malfunction caused the accident or contributed to injuries, the manufacturer is responsible for those impacts.
  • Government Agency: Local governments and their agencies are responsible for maintaining roadways and signage. If the accident was caused by a failure of the government or an agency, they are responsible. It can, however, be very difficult to recover from a government entity because these entities are often protected from lawsuits.

Be sure to secure a police report after the accident. The report will include important evidence for establishing liability, including photos of the accident scene, witness accounts and contact information, and any traffic citations issued to any party involved in the accident. If you can’t get a police report, document as much of the accident scene as possible.

Your lawyer will assess the circumstances of the accident and work with you to build a case against the responsible party.

Calculating Lost Wage Damages

A negligent party is responsible for all the injuries caused by their negligent actions. Common damages after a car accident include medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering. The defendant is also responsible if you are forced to miss work now or in the future because of your injuries.

There are two main categories of damages tied to the inability to perform work duties:

  • Lost Wages: You can recover for wages and benefits you did not receive because of your injuries. Lost wages include benefits like overtime, accruing vacation or sick time, bonuses, commissions, and retirement fund and pension plan contributions. These damages are relatively straightforward to calculate. You will need to have documentation of the time you were out of work and proof of the wages you received in the most recent period before the accident.
  • Lost Earning Capacity: Damages for lost earning capacity capture any future income you will lose because your injuries keep you from returning to full work duties or require you to change to a lower wage job. These damages are more difficult to quantify since they require speculation into future impacts. The key elements to support a lost earning capacity claim are (a) medical support that your injuries will keep you from returning to work or working at the same level; (b) your past wages/salary; and (c) guaranteed raises or cost of living increases. The calculation will also consider your age, future earning potential of your career, and impact of your injuries.

Even if you were not working prior to the accident, you should still consider recovery for lost earning capacity. If you can prove that you planned to return to work at some point but would no longer be able to do so, you could be entitled to recover for lost earning capacity.

Your lawyer will work with you to prepare a comprehensive damages demand, including lost wage and lost earning capacity damages. You will need to provide your lawyer a variety of documents to prepare and substantiate your claim, including medical records, paystubs, W-2 forms, and tax returns. Depending on the complexity of your case, it might be necessary to work with an economist.

Most car accident claims are resolved through settlement with either the defendant or the insurance provider. While settlement is expeditious and provides guaranteed recovery, do not settle for less than your case is worth. Your attorney will assess the settlement offer against the strength of your case and extent of your injuries.

Contact a Louisiana Car Accident Attorney

A lawyer will be an important part as you prepare your damages demand after a car accident, especially if you are seeking complicated damages like lost earning capacity. Your lawyer will assist you with:

  • Establishing the liability of the defendant, including compiling supporting evidence
  • Preparing a damages demand
  • Compiling evidence to support your lost wages and lost earning capacity claims including medical records, financial records, and expert input
  • Communicating with the defendant and their insurance company
  • Advising on any settlement offers
  • Preparing and filing court documents

The lawyers at John W. Redmann LLC are committed to assisting our clients secure the recovery they deserve. We understand that each case is unique, and we work with our clients to understand the details of their case and their goals for recovery. Our team has the knowledge and experience to represent a client’s interests and the tenacity to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve, including for lost wages and lost earning capacity.

If you or a loved one was forced to miss work or will miss work in the future because of injuries caused by a car accident in Louisiana, contact our team today at (504) 500-5000 or through our website to schedule a free consultation.