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Injury Lawsuits: When Can You Sue for Lost Wages, Future Earnings?

When calculating damages for an injury lawsuit, lost wages are often included in the total amount. Lost wages typically include money that a plaintiff would have earned from the time the injury occurred until the settlement is reached or a trial is complete. However, an injury lawsuit may also seek recovery for the loss of future wages, known as earning capacity. Damages for lost earning capacity seek to compensate an injured person for his or her diminished ability to earn money in the future due to impairments caused by an injury. When can a plaintiff seek these two types of damages? Lost Wages Lost wages fall into the category of special damages, which generally include any out-of-pocket expenses caused by the injury or the defendant's actions. Unlike general damages for which it may be difficult to determine a specific value (such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium with family members), special damages such as lost wages generally must be proven with specificity in order to be awarded. Lost wages can typically be proven by showing what the injured worker's normal rate of pay was, and what that person would've earned from working in the absence of the injury. In some circumstances, even a person who was unemployed at the time of an accident can recover lost wages, if he or she can prove that money would have been earned during the period following the injury. Loss of Earning Capacity If an injury results in a person becoming unable or less able to earn money in the future, then lost earning capacity damages may be awarded in addition to lost wages. The amount of future earning capacity lost is generally harder to prove with specificity. In addition to your past earnings, the court will likely consider a number of other factors including your age, occupation, skill, and life expectancy. If you've been injured in an accident, a personal injury attorney can help you determine the strength of your case and how much your potential claim may be worth. You can also learn more about damages in a personal injury lawsuit at FindLaw's section on Injury Damages. Related Resources: Injured in an accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) Brain Injury Lawsuits: How Much Is Your Case Worth? (FindLaw's Injured) Truck Accident Damages: How Much Can You Collect? (FindLaw's Injured) 5 Things a Personal Injury Lawyer Needs to Know About Your Case (FindLaw's Injured)
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3 Ways Truck Crashes Can Differ From Car Crashes

Any motor vehicle accident can lead to property damage or injury, but are there many potnetial ways in which a truck crash can differ from an "ordinary" car crash. From special insurance coverage to commercial truck laws, there are actually several factors that can make truck accidents unique. Here are three common differences between commercial truck accidents and standard car accidents: Commercial truck laws. A variety of laws impose special rules and restrictions on commercial truck drivers and trucking companies. When you're involved in a truck accident, those special commercial truck laws may come into play, such as how many hours the driver was behind the wheel, whether the driver was on a cell phone, whether the truck was properly maintained, and whether the truck was hauling hazardous material. Vicarious liability. Unlike ordinary car accidents involving individual drivers like yourself, truck accidents present a host of potential vicarious liability issues, including whether the truck driver was an employee or a contractor, whether the driver was acting in the scope of his or her employment during the accident, and whether the driver was engaging in a detour or frolic. More parties (and more lawyers) involved. When you're involved in a "regular" car accident, your lawsuit is typically limited to the other driver and his or her insurance company. But in truck accidents, you may have vicarious liability issues on the table, so you're potentially looking at many more parties involved in the case than an ordinary car accident case. Even if you can't find fault with the driver, there might be others who could be held liable, such as the truck company (for example, for negligent hiring, training, or retention) or a truck parts manufacturer (for a defective part that caused the accident). Because of these various parties, there could be many attorneys involved, representing the trucking company, the company's driver, equipment manufacturers, and others. These are just a few common ways that truck crashes can differ from car crashes. If you're ready to meet with an attorney who knows the ins and outs of truck accident cases, then head over to FindLaw's Truck Accident Lawyer Directory to connect with one today. Related Resources: Five Things to Research Before Meeting a Truck Accident Attorney (FindLaw) Proving Fault in a Truck Accident Checklist (FindLaw) Truck Accident Damages: How Much Can You Collect? (FindLaw's Injured) Truck Accident Injuries Up 18%: NHTSA Report (FindLaw's Injured)
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When Can You Sue for Loss of Consortium?

Loss of consortium is a personal injury claim that can lead to damages for loss of affection and normal marital relations. In some cases, loss of consortium can also apply to a relationship between parents and children. So when can a loss of consortium claim be made, and what will you have to prove in order to prevail in court? Here are some general guidelines: Who Can Sue? Loss of consortium is usually limited to the loss of love, sexual relations, and services of a spouse. The loss of these services can result from another person's negligence, medical malpractice, assault, battery, wrongful death, or other forms of actionable personal injury claims. Loss of consortium claims are usually initiated by the uninjured spouse, who may be able to join the injured spouse's lawsuit. However, the injured spouse may also be able to sue for loss of consortium. For example, a man whose genitals were burned while using a urinal at a fast-food restaurant sued the chain for failing to make sure the premises were safe. His wife joined the lawsuit claiming loss of consortium because her husband's burned genitals prevented them from having sex. In some cases, parents can sue for loss of consortium with their child. This damage is usually limited to circumstances in which minor children are severely injured. Generally speaking, the injuries must be serious enough to interfere with the normal relationship between parents and their kids. Proving Loss of Consortium To prove loss of consortium for married couples, the court will consider the "value" of the loss by considering several factors including: How stable the marriage is, The couple's individual life expectancy, and The extent to which the benefits of married life were actually lost. For example, a spouse who's in a coma after an accident will likely be seen as losing a greater amount of marital benefits than a spouse who suffered a broken leg. Depending on the type personal injury case, the damages awarded for loss of consortium may differ. Loss of consortium is a form of non-economic damage. Unlike calculable costs like hospital bills, non-economic damages are more abstract and usually account for one's pain and suffering. Although it depends on your state's laws, there may be a cap on personal injury actions for non-economic damages in certain types of cases. But these laws can potentially be challenged. In Florida, for example, a $1 million cap on non-economic damages for medical malpractice wrongful-death claims was recently struck down by the state's Supreme Court. As the amount of damages awarded for loss of consortium is determined on a case-by-case basis, an experienced personal injury attorney can give you a better idea of what to expect in your case. Related Resources: Accident & Injury Law (FindLaw) Walmart Dress Caused Sexless Marriage, Lawsuit Claims (FindLaw's Legally Weird) NYC Citi Bike Injury Lawsuit Seeks $15M (FindLaw's Injured) Kentucky Court Expands Spousal Right to Sue for Loss of Consortium (FindLaw's Knowledgebase)
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