Can I Sue for a Lost Job Due to a Car Accident?
Someone crashed into your car, leaving you with a broken arm and serious neck pain. You're unable to return to your job because you need to undergo medical treatment for weeks. Your employer tells you that you're being discharged because it can't leave your position vacant. As a result, you're now unemployed with no source of income. What can you do? Can you sue the other driver for your lost job? Read on to find out what damages you can recover due to losing your job.
Types of Damages for Lost Job
Generally, if the other driver caused the accident, you may be entitled to recover damages for any earnings or income lost due to accident injuries. If your employer discharged you because you're unable to work in your medical condition, you can sue the other driver for two types of damages: (1) special damages and (2) general damages.
First, you can claim special damages, which include loss of income, wages, profits, benefits, and business opportunity. You'll likely be entitled to the amount of income that you would have earned if you weren't injured in a car accident. Loss of income is calculated from the time of the accident to the date when your medical condition is stable.
Second, you can also claim general damages, which include future loss of earnings and lost earning capacity. To recover future loss of earnings and earning capacity, you need to show that you had the potential to earn that amount of money. Unlike special damages that use your actual wages to calculate the amount, the court will estimate your earning capacity by comparing your abilities before and after the injury.
How to Make a Claim for Lost Job
To recover damages after losing your job, you'll need proof of the medical condition that prevented you from returning to your job. Typically, you'll need to submit a doctor's note, disability slip, and any medical records describing your injuries. You'll also need to submit a letter from your employer (stating that you are being discharged) and proof of your income. The letter should indicate that your termination was related to your accident injuries.
Keep in mind, depending on which state you're at, your personal injury lawsuit may be subject to certain limitations like damages caps. It is unlikely that you'll recover loss of earnings for an indefinite period of time. Some states cap noneconomic damages you can recover to a certain dollar amount. Make sure you check your state's laws to ensure you're not requesting more than the law allows.
Your Duty to Mitigate
In every personal injury case, you must do everything to mitigate damages, even if you didn't cause the accident. For example, after you've recovered from your injuries, you can't just rest at home and expect to get compensated for those days. You will need to try your best to find a new job as soon as you are able to work. The amount of your damages will be reduced if the court determines you were able to work and made no effort to do so.
Get a Free Claim Evaluation
If a serious injury prevented you from returning to your job, it's probably in your best interests to contact a personal injury lawyer. Not only is it easy to overlook additional damages and factors that could affect your case, the litigation process often involves complex analysis and obstacles. Get a free case review by an attorney in your area today.