If you have been hurt because of someone else's negligence, there will be a lot of different ways that you suffer from the incident. Not only can you sustain significant personal injuries that accumulate staggering medical bills and expenses, but you are also likely to suffer professional repercussions, as well.
One of these professional repercussions is the loss of business opportunities while you were hurt and while you were recovering from the incident. While not always implicated in every personal injury case in the city of Baltimore, compensation for business opportunities lost can fill in an important gap for some accident victims.
The personal injury attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian in Baltimore understand this and know to look for signs that you have suffered lost business opportunities because of a crash caused by someone else's negligence.
Your Legal and Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Case
Regardless of whether you were hurt in a car accident, a slip and fall case, or medical malpractice, chances are that you will spend days, weeks, months, or even years in recovery before you are back up to speed. In many cases – especially when you earn an income for yourself and your family – that recovery time will prevent you from making a living.
The personal injury law of Maryland recognizes that these professional difficulties are not your fault and that it would be unfair for you to have to bear the losses associated with them. After all, none of this would have happened were it not for the negligence of the person who ultimately caused the accident.
Therefore, the law in Maryland will include lost income in the legal damages that you can recover in a successful personal injury lawsuit. Because it is relatively easy to state that lost income in a dollar amount, it falls within the realm of the economic damages that you can recover.
Just because it is relatively easy to state your lost income in a dollar amount, however, does not mean that it is simple or straightforward in every situation.
The Complexity of Determining Lost Business Opportunities
Counting up the income that you lost from an accident that someone else caused is only easy if you are a salaried or hourly employee who can easily show how much time you missed at work and what you would have been paid.
Not everyone who earns a living, though, is a traditional employee. Many people own their own business, are self-employed, work freelance, or make much of their income on a commission basis. These people do not lose wages because, technically, they are not paid wages. Instead, they lose business. Putting a dollar amount on the income that these people lost because of an accident that was caused by someone else is more difficult because that income is less certain.
Just because your losses are more difficult to determine, though, does not mean that you did not suffer them. It just makes it more important to have a skilled personal injury lawyer on your side to ensure you get the compensation you need and deserve to make a full recovery from the incident that set you back.
Proving Lost Business Opportunities in a Personal Injury Case
Showing that you lost business because you were hurt or recovering from an accident is not easy. The evidence that can help to prove your case can come from a huge variety of places and depends largely on your individual circumstances. However, there are some sources that are more likely to be helpful than others. Used together, these sources of financial evidence can show approximately how much income you lost in missed business opportunities.
Past Income and Tax Returns
One of the most common sources of evidence is how your business has done in the past. Proof of your past income is best and most reliably shown in your tax returns, such as any 1099 forms that you have accumulated through your work as an independent contractor.
Using the trends in your income can be an excellent way to show that you missed business opportunities while you were recovering from the accident. Previous trends are especially important when your income has regular fluctuations that you can rely on. For example, if you rent a beach house on the coast of Maryland but were unable to get it ready for renters in time for the summer because of the injuries you sustained in an accident, you can use prior business income to show what you missed.
In some cases, clients who provide consistent business can be counted on for testimony that the business relationship would continue or even increase. Evidence like this can be powerful for accident victims who feel like their injuries got in the way of earning an income and caused them to lose business opportunities.
On a more macro level, accident victims can turn to expert testimony to show that the field they work in was expanding while they were recovering from their injuries. Unable to work during this upswing, business opportunities were lost and, worse, went to competitors. As a result, there was a significant drop in the income you could have expected to make in the future.
While this testimony often looks at big changes in the market, smaller and more localized changes can support your claim for lost business, as well. For example, if you run a business selling flowers and a funeral home opens right across the street from your shop while you were recovering, the income that you could have made selling flowers to the funeral home could be recovered in a successful personal injury claim.
Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian
Lost business opportunities are an often overlooked aspect of a personal injury claim. For some victims, though, these missed opportunities are the most important losses you suffered in the accident. Recovering them is essential, and the personal injury lawyers at the Baltimore law office of Gilman & Bedigian can help make that happen. Contact us online.