How Accident Victims Can Recover Lost Past and Future Income
When a person is seriously injured in an accident, they may no longer be able to work at the same level that they did before their injury. In car accident cases, or in other types of accidents where another party was responsible for the victim’s injuries, the victim may be able to seek compensation for lost income and future lost wages. To do so, they will need to prove the particulars of their earning capacity, establish that this earning capacity has been affected by their injury, and enlist the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer to guide them through the process.
In this article, we will review when an injury victim can pursue compensation, what past and future lost income means, and the differences between car accident cases and other accidents.
Seeking Compensation for Your Injuries
If you have been injured in an accident, you may have the right to pursue compensation for the losses you have incurred.
In situations where the accident was caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, you may be able to seek monetary compensation in the form of ‘damages’ through a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. There are two primary types of damages: non-pecuniary damages and pecuniary damages. Non-pecuniary damages provide compensation for
damages that are not economically quantifiable, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and so on. Pecuniary damages are financially quantifiable and include medical bills and loss of past and future income.
If you were involved in a car accident, your auto insurance will provide access to accident benefits in accordance with Ontario’s ‘Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule’ (SABS). Income replacements benefits are among the benefits available. If another party was at fault for your injuries, you may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking further compensation.
Income Replacement Benefits
Car accidents are one of the most common sources of catastrophic injuries in Ontario. Every year, hundreds of injured Ontarians find themselves unable to work and, with the help of a personal injury lawyer, seek income replacement benefits from their insurance providers.
In order to be eligible for income replacement benefits, you must prove the following:
- That you are unable to work, or unable to work at the same level as before your accident, due to physical or emotional impairment
- That you were employed or self-employed at the time of your accident, OR
- That you worked for 26 or more weeks during the 52 weeks preceding your accident, OR
- That you were receiving Employment Insurance (EI) at the time of your accident, OR
- That you were not employed but at least 16 years old AND excused from attending school.
Once it has been established that you meet the above criteria, your insurance provider will seek to determine your income replacement benefits. Recipients are eligible to receive up to 70 per cent of their gross weekly income to a maximum of $400 per week. Income replacement benefits can last up to 104 weeks (roughly two years) and are paid on a bi-weekly basis. If you are still unable to work following that period, you may be entitled to reduced benefits going forward.
For more information on income replacement benefits, contact a personal injury lawyer today.
Loss of Future Earnings in Personal Injury Cases
Unlike in car accident cases, plaintiffs in personal injury claims may be entitled to seek compensation for all lost income, including future income, starting on the date of the accident.
Calculating future income in non-car-accident claims is often a point of significant contention between parties. Doing so requires expert analysis of the injury victim’s career trajectory and lost capacity to receive raises or change jobs. Age also plays a role in determining compensation: a 20-year-old accident victim is likely to receive more compensation for lost future earnings than a 60-year-old.
In order to help your personal injury lawyer determine fair compensation for these damages, you may be asked to secure the following:
- Pay stubs, applicable tax records, and bank statement for the period preceding your accident
- Applicable notes from your employer or correspondence relating to lost opportunities
- Proof of disability or impairment
- Doctors’ notes and historical medical records
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a member of your family have been injured in an accident, a personal injury lawyer from Will Davidson LLP can help. Contact us today to learn more about our history, our experience, and our expertise.