The repercussions of an accident that led to you getting hurt – whether that accident was a car crash, a slip and fall incident, or even a dog bite – go beyond just your pain, suffering, and medical expenses. There are also foreseeable repercussions to your professional life, as well. The time that it takes to recover from the incident can keep you out of work, and the lasting debilitation from the injuries you suffered can prevent you from performing in your old role at work.
For people who have traditional jobs, earn an hourly wage, or are salaried, this loss comes in the form of wages that are not earned. However, if you are not traditionally employed or make money through less secure means – like in the form of commission or business income – the loss to your income can be less certain.
In Philadelphia, however, the personal injury law allows accident victims to recover for the loss of business opportunities, as well as for more traditional forms of lost wages and income. The personal injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian know this and strive to recover lost business opportunities for clients who have been hurt in the city of Philadelphia or its suburbs.
Legal and Economic Damages in Philadelphia
When you get hurt in Philadelphia and you were not the one who was at fault for the incident that hurt you, the personal injury law in Philadelphia allows you to recover compensation for all of the losses you sustained in the accident. These losses are your legal damages.
Some of your legal damages are relatively easy to put into a dollar amount, largely because your loss was a financial one. These are your economic damages and include things like your medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages because what you suffered has already been stated in a dollar amount.
Your professional repercussions – including your lost business opportunities – fall in the realm of these economic damages. However, just because it is relatively easy to state your loss in a dollar amount does not mean that it is simple, straightforward, or certain.
What are Lost Business Opportunities?
When accident victims are not traditionally employed and lose income as a direct result of the incident, there is no reason why they should not be reimbursed for their professional loss simply because they are not salaried or make a regular wage.
Rather than recovering compensation for their lost wages, therefore, workers who are self-employed, run their own business, or earn their income on a freelance or independent contractor basis or through commissions on sales can recover reimbursement for lost business opportunities. While determining how much business was lost because of an accident is more difficult than, for example, multiplying the number of work hours missed by your hourly wage, that does not mean that victims cannot recover the compensation they are entitled to. It just means that having a personal injury lawyer on your side to argue on your behalf is more important than it would be otherwise.
Proving a Loss of Business Opportunity
Because there is a relatively large amount of uncertainty in determining a loss of business – especially when compared to figuring out how much income was lost in a traditional employment setup – the evidence required to prove a claim of lost business can come from different places and needs to be more thorough than in other cases.
Tax Returns and Evidence of Past Income
Some of the main sources of evidence for a claim for compensation for a loss of business opportunities are your prior tax returns. These are strong indicators that you earned income from a variety of sources in the past and imply that you could count on a similar income stream in the future. In many cases, this involves 1099 forms from independent contractor work that was reported on your taxes.
Trends in Your Income
Many people who earn a living through freelancing, self-employment, or their own business do not earn the same amount every week. Sometimes the amount you earn fluctuates drastically from month to month but generally follows the same trends. For example, people who supplement their income by selling merchandise at Philadelphia Phillies games will see their income increase dramatically during baseball season and even during the team's home stands.
Using these trends like these can help show how much you reasonably expected to earn in business opportunities but missed because you were recovering from an accident that was not your fault.
Testimony from Clients
If your business has regular clients who count on your for regular, though not necessarily continuous, work, their testimony can be strong evidence of how much business you lost as a result of an accident that kept you out of commission.
Macro Trends in Your Industry or Field
Finally, expert testimony about your field of work can be a valuable way of showing whether, and how much, business was lost while you recovered from an accident. Developments in local and national markets can have a significant impact on how much you could expect to earn in business while you were recovering from an injury, and putting expert witnesses on the stand is often the best way to bring this information to light.
For example, if you work as an independent mechanic that fixes trucks and a huge warehouse opens down the road that needs to regularly maintain tractor trailers, an expert can estimate how much business you lost if you were hurt in an accident and were not able to capitalize on these developments.
Gilman & Bedigian: Personal Injury Lawyers Serving Philadelphia
The personal injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian strive to represent all sorts of accident victims inside and outside of a courtroom. This includes people who run their own business or work in non-traditional employment that pays them in business rather than a strict wage. Recovering compensation for these victims is no less important, and the attorneys in our Philadelphia law office know this. Contact us online for the legal representation you need to get the full compensation you deserve.