Unable to Work After a Crash?


Transcript: Hi, I’m Indiana personal injury attorney David Holub, and this video explores what damages you can get if you’re unable to work following a crash. Let’s say you’re in a car accident that leaves you so injured that you’re unable to work for several weeks or months or maybe a year. Can you be compensated for those lost wages? The answer is yes. Earnings losses are typically calculated by first looking at the average weekly or monthly earnings that you had before the crash. Then those average earnings are measured against the amount of time that you are deemed medically unable to work. In other words, average earnings times the amount of time you have lost from work equals total earnings loss. The calculation can become very complex if you own your business or if you rent or are purchasing equipment that is part of your work. For example, if you’re a truck driver and you lease a truck or own a truck and can no longer operate that vehicle due to the fact that you’re injured. Again, these kind of calculations are much more complex that we can explore in this video. What if you’re unable to return to work in the old type of work you were doing, but can return to work in some other work, maybe that you earn less in that other work, but at least it’s some work that you can do. Well, the law does require that you try to work even if it’s in a less valuable earnings capacity so to speak. For example, let’s say you are a concert violinist and you’re earning $60,000 a year and no longer can you do that work as a violinist due to a hand injury, but you can earn $40,000 working at the public library specializing in violin, music, and organizing, say, some music that is special to your training, but you can’t earn the normal $60,000 a year that you were earning. You are able to get compensation for the difference from what you would normally earn compared to what you are restricted from earning due to your injury. The difference in earnings loss due to an injury that is not totally incapacitating is called lost earnings capacity damages. In other words, you can get compensated for lost earnings capacity just like you can be compensated for lost earnings. Sometimes an economic expert is required to make calculations on lost earnings or lost earnings capacity because the calculations are very complex. For example, let’s say you are a union contractor, say a union electrician, and you’re making $45/hour, but you’re also getting pension benefits contributed at $20/hour or you’re also getting health insurance benefits at $10/hour. All of those benefits include your earnings loss or your earnings capacity loss, so it may often be difficult to calculate, but you are entitled to both lost earnings and lost earnings capacity damages. This video is giving you basically some general information on the subject of lost earnings and lost earnings capacity. If you have specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys or another attorney of your choice.