Unable to Return to Work After a Motorcycle Accident
If you were in a motorcycle accident in which another driver or individual on the road was to blame, you might have suffered some severe injuries. If your injuries are so severe that you are unable to go back to work, you may be worried about your financial future and how to provide for yourself (and your family, if you have one), especially if you have increased medical or special expenses due to your injuries.
If you were in an accident that was not your fault, the law has a way of ensuring that another person’s recklessness or negligence in causing your injuries does not cripple you financially for life.
In general, after an accident, if another person was at fault, not only do they (and/or their insurance company) have to reimburse you for your property damage and medical bills, they are also liable and must reimburse you for any income that you lost as a result of not being able to work after the accident. Specifically, if you are an hourly or weekly wage worker, and you had to miss work because you were in the hospital, at home recuperating, or in physical or other therapy after your accident, the party liable for the accident (or their insurance company) must compensate you for every hour that you were unable to earn money on account to tending to your injuries. If your injuries caused you to take time away from work and this cut into your sick or vacation days, the responsible party should also reimburse you for the value of those sick or vacation days.
Lost Future Income
In addition, if your injuries are such that they hinder your ability to go back to work in some permanent way, you may be entitled to damages based on lost future income. For example, if before your accident you worked in a job that required physical labor but you are no longer able to lift heavy objects due to your injuries, you are entitled to payment of the loss of future income. Similarly, if your accident caused injuries that diminished your memory, ability to focus, or perform in some other mental capacity that you needed for your job as, say, an accountant, you would be entitled to losses based on the fact that you are no longer able to work as an accountant.
Obviously, determining lost future income is more challenging than determining lost wages. Lost wages is a simple calculation of your pro rata wage x the amount of time that you were unable to work and therefore earn money on account of your injuries.
On the other hand, assessing lost future income is more complicated and often requires expert opinions and/or testimony. First, you would have to show that the injury really did reduce your ability to earn money after your accident. Often, a doctor or other expert would show that you were unable to perform your duties as you would be required. Second, you would have to show what you would have earned if not for your injuries caused by the motorcycle accident. A number of factors come into play here: including the average wage over time of somebody in your previous position, your likelihood for a promotion, the health of the industry you were in, your life expectancy (based on your age and health) as well as your working-time expectancy (how much longer you would have worked in that industry.
Especially in order to determine and maximize the amount of lost future income damages you may be entitled to after your motorcycle accident, it is advisable that you retain an experienced attorney to help file your claim and consider and document all the factors that would benefit your claim.