One of the most unfortunate parts about a serious personal injury — apart from the physical injuries and lingering effects — is the financial hit that many victims take.
When an injury forces you to miss considerable time from work, then a considerable loss in income, and the problems that can bring, is another burden to consider in filing a lawsuit.
When it comes time to testify about these damages at trial, testimony alone will not be enough to establish the amount of lost wages — you will need to provide the defendant with your tax returns during the discovery process to verify the amounts.
This can be an uncomfortable subject for many plaintiffs, and rightly so. Tax returns reveal many sensitive financial details, and aren’t to be taken lightly. Fortunately, Illinois case law provides boundaries on just how far a defendant’s line of questioning can go. While it is standard for courts to allow defendants to ask basic questions about whether tax returns were filed and what the gross income was (Cerveny v. American Family Insurance Co.), detailed questions into claimed deductions and income disclosures asked to discredit a plaintiff are squarely not permitted (Pozzie v. Mike Smith, Inc.).
The bottom line is that yes, it’s not a comfortable subject for many to discuss in front of a courtroom of complete strangers, but fortunately, courts generally run a very “tight ship” that keeps sensitive issues out of the picture and just focuses on the hard numbers that you need to show in order to make an adequate claim for lost wages.
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