Under Tennessee law, any person who is injured in a crash that is not their fault has the right to file a lawsuit to recover their losses. This includes medical bills and disability damages, but also the full amount of income they have lost as a result of the incident. Before you accept a settlement in your injury claim, you should carefully calculate your losses to make sure you get everything you're owed.
Kinds of Income You May Recover After a Motorcycle Accident
Lost income could be a major portion of motorcycle accident damages. If you were out of work for a significant period of time after the crash, you can claim any paid time off balances or out-of-pocket expenses you were forced to spend because of your injury.
Lost past wages are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to calculating lost income. You should also know how much you could stand to lose through past, present, and future:
- Self-employment income. If you own your own business, you may still suffer lost income even if you don't have employee wages. Unfortunately, self-employment losses are more difficult to calculate than typical wages, and it will take significant proof to show the extent of lost income from clients or customers.
- Decreased wages. Motorcycle crash injuries can be extensive, sometimes causing significant brain damage or the loss of a limb. If you were forced to take a step down or reduce your hours at work due to disability, you might recover the difference between your new wages and what you used to earn. You may also sue for partial wages if you were forced to change to a lower-paying job due to limitations resulting from the accident.
- Lost benefits. If you're forced to change jobs, you may lose out on retirement benefits, stock options, bonuses, and future paid vacation time. You may also lose eligibility for employee assistance programs, discounts, and services offered through your employer, as well as future networking connections and business opportunities.
Documentation You May Need to Prove the Extent of Income Losses
These losses could cost you a significant amount of money, and you'll need the right evidence to convince the court of the extent of your losses. Some forms of documentation that could help you estimate your lost wages include:
- Pay stubs and W-2 forms from an employer
- Previous personal (or small business) tax returns
- Proof of income or reported profits from your business
- Monthly or yearly statements showing how much you paid for health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, and life insurance before the crash
- Statements showing how much you pay for insurance and other benefits now
- Documentation of any other benefits you lost because of the accident
- Your estimated date of retirement
- Testimony from a financial advisor on the amount of taxes and inflation that should be applied to your lost future income
- Medical documentation relevant to your inability to work
- Expert testimony about the impact your injuries will have on your ability to earn an income in the future
Unfortunately, many people grossly underestimate the amount of their losses simply because they don't know what they're owed under the law. When insurance companies call with an offer in the first days of the case, victims may accept what seems like a high payment—until the true costs of their injuries become known. For this reason, it's always best to have your Tennessee motorcycle crash attorney calculate these costs for you.
Lost income is just one type of damages you could recover after a motorcycle crash. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a motorcycle accident, the legal team at GriffithLaw can help get you the compensation you deserve—and you won't have to pay anything until your case is won. Get in touch with us today using our online form, or give us a call to schedule your free case evaluation.