Most clients who hire a Houston car accident lawyer worry about recovering medical care costs and property damage. They are stunned to find out they can also seek lost wages from the at-fault driver.
In this article, we will discuss how the state of Texas treats economic damages and why missed wages are an integral part of these.
Defining Economic Damages in Houston Car Accident Cases
The Civil Practice and Remedies Code of Texas Sec. 41.001(4) defines economic damages as a form of compensation for “actual economic or pecuniary loss” caused by someone’s negligence. In simpler terms, you can recover any kind of expense, cost, financial loss, and unrealized financial benefit caused by the car accident you were involved in.
This term includes wages and other financial benefits associated with your job that you did not obtain during the period you spent recovering from your car crash injuries.
Lost Wages Cover a Large Spectrum of Job Benefits
As stated above, the term wages does not refer only to the hourly wage your employer pays you. Many employees rely on other financial benefits to make a living, such as tips or commissions.
For this reason, your lawyer will need to know about all types of financial compensation you receive from your job, including:
- Sales commissions
- Paid personal time off or medical leave offered by your employer
- Potential salary raises or promotions you missed
- Contributions made by your employer to your private health and life insurance
- Matching contributions made by your employer to your retirement fund.
All these are eligible economic damages, which your Houston car crash attorney will duly calculate and add to your demand letter.
What Happens If the Accident Leaves You Unable to Work?
Not all car accident victims make a full recovery and return to their usual life. Many people are left with life-changing disabilities and impairment after a crash. Some disabilities allow victims to find work in a different, lower-paying capacity. In this situation, the person can seek loss of future earnings.
This type of compensation represents the difference between the wages they used to make and the wage they get at the new job, over the entire period of activity until retirement.
In other situations, the disability is so severe, that the person cannot be gainfully
employed for the rest of their life. In this situation, the attorney will seek compensation for loss of earning capacity.
This compensation will act as a replacement for the accident victim’s wages, to help their family maintain financial security.
Comparative Negligence Is Applicable to Lost Wages
In general, you cannot expect to recover the full amount of damages initially calculated by your lawyer. This is because Texas uses a comparative negligence principle in car accident cases. This principle states that you have the right to collect damages if you are less than 50% at fault and that your total damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Now, with very few exceptions, both drivers are found to have contributed to the accident. Even if your proportion of fault is just 5% or 10%, this percentage will be deducted from your economic and non-economic damages, including the lost wages.
Let an Experienced Houston Car Accident Lawyer Help You Recover Damages!
After a car accident, you are left not just with injuries and pain, but with mounting bills to pay – both to your doctors and at home. And while these bills keep piling up, your weekly paycheck is not coming in anymore, sometimes for months.
An experienced Houston car accident lawyer will make sure that the at-fault driver and their insurance will pay for all the damages they caused you – including lost wages.
We encourage you to reach out to us as soon as possible after your accident and schedule a free case evaluation at 346-220-1821!