Can I Be Compensated for Lost Income After a Car Accident?
- Zanes Law Web Team
- January 7, 2019
You may be able to recover compensation for lost wages after being in an Arizona car accident. There are many costs associated with a car accident including medical bills, property damage, and lost income. If another party is at fault for your injuries, then they may also be responsible for your lost wages.
Recoverable Damages in an Arizona Car Accident Case
Arizona is an at-fault state. This means that the party that is responsible for the accident is also responsible for the damages. The at-fault parties insurance company would cover any damages from the car accident including:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Temporary transportation
- Rehabilitative costs
- Lost wages
Lost wages might include salary, hourly pay, or tips that would have otherwise been earned if the individual would not have been in a car accident. In some cases, if the injuries from the car accident are severe, then additional income costs like diminished earning capacity or lost work benefits might also be recoverable.
The Importance of Determining Fault
Unlike no-fault states, an at-fault state requires that we determine fault to collect compensation. Because Arizona is an at-fault state, we must identify the liable party.
To determine fault, we will identify that the following four elements were present at the time of the car accident:
- Duty of care: The at-fault party held a legal duty of care to your safety
- Breach of duty: The at-fault party breached that duty in some way, either through negligence or intentional harm
- Causation: The negligent actions of the at-fault party was the cause of the car accident
- Damages: Actual damages are present as a result of the car accident
Whether the responsible party was texting and driving, driving under the influence, aggressively driving, or failed to follow Arizona’s laws, they may be responsible for any damages you incur, including lost wages.
Arizona’s Comparative Negligence Laws
It is possible for more than one party to be at fault in an Arizona car accident case. As long as another party is also to blame for the accident, then we can still recover compensation for damages that they are responsible for.
Determining the Value of Lost Wages
While calculating the amount of lost income over a set period may be simple, long-term employment gaps can be more difficult to value. Long-term injuries can prevent you from returning to work for an extended period. They may also prevent you from ever returning to the same line of work.
In this case, we will calculate the diminished value of lost wages. This includes work benefits such as health insurance, retirement accounts, or vacation time that you might also miss out on.
It is important to come up with a value that appropriately covers your current and expected damages. Otherwise, the insurance company may attempt to undervalue your damages, offering you a low-ball settlement.
An Arizona car accident lawyer can help you calculate your damages which include the following items:
- Medical records
- Expert witness reports
- Income statements
- Insurance documents
- W-2 statements
Some employment situations can complicate this process such as if you are self-employed. It is important to work with a car accident lawyer with access to expert economists that will factor in things like injuries, current health status, age, and disabilities to determine the amount of lost wages.
File Within Arizona’s Statute Of Limitations
Arizona has a limited time in which you can file for lost wages following a car accident. You have just two years from the date of the accident to file a car accident case. Failing to do so can make it so you lose out on compensation that you deserve, including the recovery of lost wages.
Because it can take time to build your case, it is important that you start this process as soon as possible.
Discuss Your Case With a Car Accident Lawyer Today
If another parties’ negligent actions left you to deal with injuries and lost wages, then it is only right that they cover those expenses. Arizona does allow for the recovery of costs such as lost wages and diminished earning capacity.
When you work with a car accident lawyer that is familiar with these laws, you can collect the compensation that you deserve to move on after a difficult car accident.
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