Getting hurt isn’t just frustrating and inconvenient. It is often also very expensive. For example, the injuries that someone incurs in a car crash could lead to tens of thousands of dollars in hospital bills. Until someone fully recovers from their injuries, they will probably also lose out on income. They may only be able to work part-time or may need to take a total leave of absence from work during their recovery. Those with particularly serious injuries may need to change professions or could end up completely unable to work.
Lost wages and reduced earning potential are often among the largest contributing factors to the overall value of a personal injury lawsuit or injury-related insurance claim in Georgia. Someone who has been injured in a recent incident can benefit from keeping the following in mind when calculating the financial value of their lost wages and earning potential.
It’s important to look at the big picture
Perhaps the most common mistake that individuals make when attempting to calculate the financial impact of an injury is that they only look at current lost wages. Obviously, being in the hospital for three weeks will lead to three weeks of lost income. However, it could be some time before someone is able to fully return to work, which could very well mean that they have future lost wages to account for as well. Those with more serious or debilitating injuries may need to consider the likely reduction in their long-term earning potential. If someone can no longer work in a skilled blue-collar profession, for example, their take-home pay might be a fraction of what it was before their injury.
Additionally, moving into a less skilled and therefore lower-compensated position will usually mean that someone also loses some or all of their employer benefits, which can add as much as 30% to the value of their compensation package. Even if someone manages to retain their job, they may experience a noticeable slowdown in career development and may no longer the eligible for large raises and promotions that they would have previously thought.
People need to consider not just what they would have earned while in the hospital but also what they will earn in the future and how their injuries might change that amount. It could be very difficult for an individual unfamiliar with the process of calculating lost wages to authoritatively establish the long-term economic impact their injuries may have on them and their family members.
Accurately estimating the impact that injuries will have on someone’s income can help a victim to more effectively pursue compensation through insurance negotiations and/or civil litigation. Seeking legal guidance can be very beneficial in this regard.