Life Changing Motorcycle Accident Cases
A bad motorcycle accident can turn your life upside down. One minute, your life is moving along smoothly, and the next minute, your world is full of hospital expenses, medical treatments, and, quite often, pain and physical limitations. To make matters worse, your injuries might prevent you from working or working in the same capacity as you did prior to the accident. Lost wages mean less money and more worries as the bills pile up.
Unfortunately, such scenarios are far from unusual in Washington. According to the Traffic Safety Commission, motorcycle accidents in Washington accounted for 19 percent of collision-related serious injuries and 15 percent of collision-related fatalities between 2013 and 2017. These figures have remained consistent for over a decade.
The good news is that if you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation, including past wages as well as the loss of future earning capacity. Here’s what our experienced Washington motorcycle accident attorney says you need to know.
Loss of Income After a Washington Motorcycle Accident
If you suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle accident, you likely had to stop working while recovering. Many accident victims spend days, weeks, or months in the hospital or undergoing physical rehabilitation and cannot return to their jobs or work in the same capacity.
Loss of income refers to the wages and other income you’ve lost due to the motorcycle accident injuries. In other words, they are the wages you would have earned had you not been injured. For example, if your injuries caused you to miss two weeks of wages, these are considered lost income. Other types of lost income may include:
- Self-employment income
- Tips, bonuses, or commissions
- Other benefits (e.g., sick days, etc.)
To recover lost income, you must file a personal injury claim and prove that your lost wages were due to injuries you sustained in the motorcycle accident. You will also have to establish the amount of the lost earnings with reasonable certainty.
Calculating Lost Income
Determining past loss of income or lost wages can be fairly straightforward. You will need to prove your typical income prior to the accident then determine how much income you lost due to your injuries. You will need evidence such as:
- W-2 or 1099 tax forms
- Documentation of missed meetings or conferences
- Letter from your employer establishing your usual income and benefits
- Letter from a healthcare provider verifying your medical condition and inability to work until certain conditions are met
- Hospitalization and other medical records
The calculation of lost income becomes more complex if you are self-employed, do not earn hourly wages, or make most of your income through tips or commissions. Under such circumstances, it is crucial to have an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you determine and prove your estimated lost earnings during your recovery period.
Lost Earning Capacity
If your injuries have caused you to become temporarily or permanently disabled, you may also be able to recover for lost earning capacity. This loss refers to the future wages, or income you would have earned had you not become disabled. That is, if your earning ability has decreased because of your injuries, you may be able to recoup the difference between your pre-accident earning capacity and your current one.
To illustrate: imagine that before the motorcycle accident, you had a job that required you to stand for eight hours per day. However, post-accident, your injuries only permit you to stand for a few hours or use a wheelchair. If the injuries force you to take a lower-paying job or you’re unable to work at all, you might be entitled to an award that would amount to the same earnings you would have had if you had not been injured.
Calculating Lost Earning Capacity
Assessing lost earning capacity is a more challenging calculation than past income loss. At its core, the calculation involves predicting how much you could have made in the future had you not been injured. The court will take into account numerous factors, including:
- Your profession or occupation
- Your history of raises, bonuses, commissions
- Your skills, talents, abilities
- Your past work experience
- Your age and life expectancy
- Improvements to your skillset that could have increased your income
- The nature of your injuries and prognosis
A person seeking lost earning capacity will often need expert witnesses to help establish the amount of damages to which they’re entitled. For example, a person with specialized knowledge of your industry could review your history on the job, testify about current market values and wage rates within the industry, and estimate your likely future earnings within the industry. A medical expert could explain why your injuries prevent you from maintaining your former position and describe the type of activities your injuries, and physical limitations allow.
How a Bothell Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
The statute of limitations for recovering damages in a personal injury claim is three years, starting from the date of injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you should contact a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced Bothell personal injury lawyer is critical to proving your right to compensation and collecting all the evidence necessary to prove your lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and any other damages to which you may be entitled. Such additional damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
The Max Meyers Law Firm has extensive experience with motorcycle injury accidents in Washington State, and we know how to help you recover the full amount of damages you deserve. Contact our offices today to schedule a free consultation or call us at 425-414-8423.