If you’ve been injured in a car accident, the bills and expenses brought on by the crash could be more than you can afford. This is even more likely if your injuries have kept you from returning to work and you have lost wage damages that you need compensation for.
Recovering lost wages in a Georgia car accident is possible through an insurance claim. However, many insurance companies are reluctant to pay the full value of your lost wages, especially if your injuries caused a disability that will keep you out of work in the future. If you have trouble getting these damages paid through a settlement with the insurance company, you may need to file in court to get these damages paid through a lawsuit.
For a free review of your case, call the Georgia car accident lawyers at Howe Law today. To get in touch with our attorneys, call us at (844) 876-4357.
What Are Lost Wage Damages Allowed in Georgia Car Accident Cases?
Lost wages are usually an important part of any car accident injury claim. If your injuries kept you from going to work while you recovered or kept you from going back to work, then you should be entitled to claim these damages whether you file a lawsuit or an insurance claim. However, laws are often strict about what damages can be claimed in various situations, so it is worth looking into how the law authorizes lost wage and lost earning damages in Georgia.
Under O.C.G.A § 51-12-1, damages are allowed in lawsuits whether they are “general or special” and whether they are “direct or consequential.” The following sections go on to define these terms. Without getting too far into the legal complexities, lost wage damages usually fall under the umbrella of “special” damages because they are specific to your situation and must have their value proved; and they are “consequential” damages because they come about based on other circumstances rather than appearing immediately at the time of the accident.
All in all, this goes to show that lost wage damages can be claimed in a Georgia car accident case whether they are damages for work you have already missed or work you will miss in the future. Both types of lost wages should be available because they are both “special” and “consequential” damages. That means our Atlanta car accident lawyers can fight for all lost wage damages, past, present, and future.
Claiming Lost Wages During Your Recovery Period for a Georgia Car Accident
In order to claim any damages for things like medical bills or lost wages, you need proof of how much these damages cost. If you had to take time off work but your injuries are now healed and you have gone back to work, you can claim the total lost wages you missed without too much effort.
Generally, § 51-12-1(b) allows a wide array of evidence to be used to prove your damages, so things like pay stubs, financial statements, and tax records will all be helpful when proving how much your wages should have been during that period.
When you initially claim these damages, they may be part of an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the insurance company is willing to offer only a portion of these damages to pay you back, you might be better off speaking with our Alpharetta car accident lawyers about filing a lawsuit to claim the damages in open court. Our attorneys can advise you on how much these damages are worth, negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement, and even take your case to trial if necessary to have your lost wage damages paid.
Claiming Lost Earning Capacity for a Disability After a Georgia Car Crash
If you were seriously injured in the accident and now face disabilities and long-term injuries that will keep you from going back to work in the future, claiming damages can be more complex. These damages are also “special” and “consequential” damages, so they should also be allowed in your injury claim. However, proving these damages requires more evidence.
O.C.G.A. § 51-12-8 blocks victims from claiming damages that are only “imaginary or possible,” and § 51-12-9 clarifies this to mean damages that are “too remote” cannot be claimed. When claiming damages for future lost wages, we will have to look not only at lost wages from the next few weeks or months but potentially at lost wages years and years from now. Proving that these damages are “not too remote” means we will need strong evidence of the value of these lost wages.
Lost future earning capacity is usually based on the difference between your old wages and your new wages. Many disabled workers either need to take on light duties or switch to a different job entirely, potentially missing out on pay. Any difference between your old and new wages can be claimed as part of your damages. If you cannot work at all and your new wages are effectively $0, you can claim the full value of your old wages.
In order to prove what the old wages would have been going forward, we will need to hire experts to assess your case and determine how much money you would have made between now and retirement – including potential raises and promotions you will now miss out on. Alongside these expert reports, our Macon car accident lawyers will also need evidence that links this lost earning capacity directly to your accident and injuries.
Call Our Georgia Car Accident Lawyers for Help
If you suffered an injury in a car accident, call Howe Law’s lawyers for help today. Contact us at (844) 876-4357 for a free case assessment.