One of the first questions many clients have when discussing their legal rights is what can be done about the time at work they were forced to miss after an injury. This is a particularly pressing concern during difficult economic times such as these — many individuals cannot bear the financial strain of missing a long stretch of work due to injuries, particularly those that were someone else’s fault, and the harsh reality is that many workers return from an absence due to injury and find that their jobs are no longer waiting for them.
A lost wages claim is an essential part of any lawsuit. A skilled — and prepared — trial attorney will be sure to include it in your claim.
These claims are often highly contested between attorneys. The injured party has the burden of proof to prove wages were actually lost. The best way to go about proving these claims for lost wages will be through the testimony of the plaintif herself. But testimony alone will not be enough to state a successful claim, however, and documentation of proof is generally alway required. In fact, Illinois law essentially requires a plaintiff to produce tax returns from the year before the accident, the year of the accident, and the year after the accident — or, sometimes, the W-2s or other tax and / or income documentation.
What this documentation does is give the court and jury a snapshot of what the plaintiff lost by not being able to work. For example, the tax returns from year before the accident generally demonstrates what the plaintiff was making while healthy, the returns from the year of the accident generally illustrate the specific drop-off from the year of the accident itself, and the returns from the year after the accident may show what the plaintiff is capable of earning in her present state. Every situation is different of course and no two cases may perfectly reflect a scenario via tax returns. Sometimes an expert such as an economist, vocational expert, tax attorney, tax preparer or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) may be necessary to prove lost wages–especially significant losses and losses that may be permanent.
In any event, a skilled — but more importantly, prepared — trial attorney will be sure to press for your lost wage claim. Preparedness is critical because at trial time, if an expert is not disclosed or properly prepared to testify for a significant wage loss, your wage loss claim will be disallowed or “barred.” Be sure to discuss this in detail with your attorney in an injury claim and ask the “hard questions” as to how that wage claim will be proved.
You can contact us here 24/7/365 (and we really mean that as we will answer our phone) if you have any questions and to learn how we may be able to help you ensure your case is handled in a “prepared” fashion – in particular, you will find that we listen, take your phone calls and e-mails (and even text messages!). We would be honored to help you with your matters – large or small.