Claiming Future Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Case

Suffering a personal injury often leads to more damages than just the physical damage that you sustain from the accident itself.  Injury often also results in damage to your relationships, your employment and your mental and emotional health. As such, there are certain types of expenses and/or costs that you are generally able to claim when you are injured and make a personal injury claim with an insurance company, including but not limited to: medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and lost wages.

If you are forced to take time off from work as a result of your injury, you are usually able to make a claim for those lost wages. That is generally not a complicated matter, because those damages are definite, meaning that you can present the other party with clear information about how much money you have already actually failed to earn. A slightly more complicated matter would be claiming future lost wages.

In a case presently pending before the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Virginia, the Court had the opportunity to address future lost wages when it was presented with the defendants’ motion to exclude expert testimony related to the plaintiff’s alleged loss of earning capacity. In that case, the Plaintiff was unemployed at the time of the injury but was seeking to return to full-time employment. Her doctor opined that she would be unable to work in the future due to the injuries she sustained. She now seeks to introduce testimony from two experts—a rehabilitation counselor and a forensic economist—to establish the amount of money that she will lose in the future because her injuries leave her unable to work. The defendants’ objected to the expert opinions, claiming that they “are based on unfounded assumptions rather than [the Plaintiff’s] actual work history.” Ultimately, the Court ruled that the Plaintiff would be permitted to introduce the expert testimony because the experts “base[d] their conclusions on information personal to the plaintiff,” and therefore their proposed testimony “complies with the Supreme Court of Virginia’s call for a more individualized analysis of lost earning capacity.”

Making a claim for a personal injury can be very complicated due to the various types of damages that can be sought. Therefore, it is always best to consult with an attorney. If you have questions about a personal injury claim and need assistance from someone with intimate knowledge of Virginia law, please do not hesitate to contact our firm at 804-423-1382 or to schedule a one-on-one consultation with one of our experienced Virginia attorneys.