If you or some you love has suffered an injury which left you incapacitated in Maryland, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries through a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible. Generally, damages are sought in most civil cases. Damages refer to an award, issued by the Court, of money that you are seeking in order to compensate you for some legal wrong that was committed by the other party. Included in an award of damages are monies lost due to an injury causing you to remain out of work for a period of time. This is also known as “loss of wages.”
Lost Wages in Maryland Personal Injury Cases
Compensatory damages are awarded by a Court to compensate the plaintiff for injuries suffered as a result of the negligence of the defendant(s). The award is meant to restore the plaintiff – as much as possible – to the condition he or she was in prior to the injury occurring.
In Maryland, it is possible for the Plaintiff to recover for past, present and future lost wages as well as lost or diminished earning capacity.
Past Lost Wages
When an injury happens, the victim may miss work due to hospitalization, surgery, counseling, other medical treatment and any subsequent follow up appointments. This can lead to severe economic repercussions for the victim and their family. In order to help the victim make up for this loss, a personal injury claim can include a request for past lost wages.
In order to recover for wages lost due to injury, evidence must be presented which demonstrates that you missed time from work as a result of the injury sustained. This testimony should be properly backed up by medical records (which is another reason why you should keep any and all relevant records if you have been injured.) It is also possible that the court would want evidence of recent pay stubs and your previous year's tax returns in order to prove your employment and income.
The fact that you may have been paid some of your wages during the time you were injured should not impact your ability to recover damages in a Maryland personal injury claim. The case of Plank v. Summers, 473 A.2d 956, stated that a plaintiff's damages for lost earnings "are not to be reduced because of the payment of his wages by his employer during the period of disability due to the accident.”
Future Lost Wages
If you have sustained an injury that will impact your ability to work in the future, it is possible that you can recover for future lost wages. This refers to the loss of income based upon actual loss of wages in the future. In order to prove, and ultimately recover, for future lost wages, the following must be proved in Court:
- The permanency of the injury
- The future probability of pain causing disability
- The reasonable probability of the future loss
In Maryland, the Collateral Source Rule states that in calculating awards for future lost wages, a jury may not reduce the amount of their award because they believe or infer that you will receive reimbursement or otherwise be compensated for future losses from other sources such as disability insurance, sick leave, medical insurance, etc.
Diminished Earning Capacity
An injury can affect not only your ability to currently earn an income, but the lasting physical and mental effects can impact your ability to earn wages in the future. Diminished earning capacity refers to the loss of future earnings based upon a shortened life expectancy or salary reduction. This is another type of compensation which can be sought as damages in a personal injury claim.
While some victims may be hesitant to initiate a lawsuit, it can be a critical means to maintaining financial stability in the aftermath of an injury. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to guide you through the process and advise you of each step to take along the way. If you or a loved one has been injured or in an accident due to the irresponsible or negligent behavior of another, please do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.