Can I Win Damages for Lost Income in a NJ Personal Injury Suit If I’m Unemployed?
The three common types of financial damages that are typically relevant in a New Jersey personal injury suit are: 1) the cost of medical bills resulting over your lifetime for your injuries; 2) the pain and suffering you have endured as the result of the injuries; and 3) your lost income resulting from the injuries. With regard to lost income, one way to measure this in a settlement or verdict is to look at the specific amount of wages that were lost by the plaintiff following the injury.
But what about a situation in which a person is unemployed at the time of the injury? Being unemployed does not necessarily mean that you will be unable to recover damages relating to your ability to work, but it may make that process more complex.
Recovery For Reduced Earning Potential
New Jersey courts understand that many unemployed people who become injured will suffer financial losses when they are unable to pursue work due to their injuries. Thus, courts will award financial damages when an injury causes a plaintiff to have a reduction in their earning potential, even if they were not employed at the time of the accident, and even if they were not yet working in the field related to their lost earning potential.
For example, a person in medical school training to become a surgeon may not yet have earned any money from the medical field yet, or even have a job lined up, but if a serious accident means that person can no longer pursue being a surgeon, his or her attorney can seek damages equal to the amount they would have made over their career as a surgeon and what income they can earn in light of the accident.
The Complexities of Seeking Reduced Earning Potential Damages
Because arguing for lost earning potential is not as straightforward as showing the court what your wages were before and after the accident, it is important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who has the sophistication and skill necessary to present compelling evidence of your reduced earning potential.
Factors that might affect your ability to recover for reduced earning potential include:
- The length of time a plaintiff was unemployed prior to the accident
- The efforts made by the plaintiff to seek work prior to the accident
- What evidence exists for the plaintiff having the skills necessary to earn money in a specific field
- Evidence of preparation (e.g. schooling) for working in a particular field
Speak to an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an injury to determine what legal options are available to you.
Call a New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney Today
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Judd Shaw Injury Law have won over $90 million in compensation for our clients, and we are here to stand by your side as your allies and champions in winning the recovery you deserve from all potential defendants. Contact us today to speak to a personal injury attorney about your personal injury and what our team can do to fight for maximum recovery on your behalf.