When you think about a motorcycle accident, you likely first think of physical injury costs and property damages. These are important costs that need to be covered by the at-fault or negligent driver’s insurance company. They often make up the most substantial portion of your motorcycle accident settlement amount.
But there are other costs associated with motorcycle accidents. What you may forget is that being injured in a motorcycle accident may cost you anywhere from a small amount of income to a serious impairment of your earning ability for the rest of your life. Your injuries can cost you income now while you recover and into the future when the injuries become worse over time. That is, if you do not suffer debilitation or major changes in your ability to work and earn a living.
Calculation of Lost Income
There are many factors associated with figuring your lost income after a motorcycle accident. This is a portion of your insurance claim that usually requires the expert help of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. He or she will be able to obtain information needed to determine your current losses, as well as those impacting your future. Using this information, your personal injury lawyer will know how much lost income damages should be requested from the responsible party.
Factors involved in calculation of your lost income include:
- Number of work hours you have missed since the accident.
In many cases, the personal injury lawyer may be able to determine a specific number of hours missed from work. The value of these hours can often be simply calculated by multiplying the motorcyclist’s hourly wage by the number of hours spent away from work for medical treatments, doctor’s appointments and in recovery.
- Salary at the time of the accident.
For salaried employees, things become more difficult for determination of lost income. But it is still fairly straightforward, as the attorney translates the salary into an hourly wage. But some employees work erratic hours, making this computation more difficult.
- Commission lost due to missed opportunities.
Commissioned workers, like salespeople, have income that can be difficult to average or estimate. This is because an injured motorcyclist employed on commission loses not only hours of work, but missed opportunities for sales while being away from the workplace. Attorneys often come up with a figure based upon one or two years of the employee’s sales averages, to derive a working “wage.” That average wage is then multiplied by lost hours.
- Lost benefits of the position.
Income is not only just wages. There are often other benefits that are lost when work is missed. This is particularly true when the motorcycle accident victim holds a 401k plan or is contributing to another savings plan. In those situations, the victim may lose more than what is contributed to the savings account. Interest on the amount is also lost, as the accident victim is not making the regular fund contributions.
- If the motorcycle accident victim is permanently disabled or cannot continue working in the same job as before the accident, the overall loss of income must be determined. Complicated calculations must be used with age, potential future income and losses applied to these formulas.
Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Help You Determine Your Ideal Settlement Amount
While it is possible for a motorcycle accident victim to come up with these numbers on their own or with the help of others around them, a phoenix personal injury lawyer with experience in the field will know when the number is right. This is the amount that will be used to determine a suitable settlement amount, so it is important to be within the right range. It is also important, as the motorcycle accident victim may be reliant on these funds now and in the future for basic daily living.
Being in a motorcycle accident is a frightening experience. Filing an insurance claim involves many pieces of information pulled together to develop a logical settlement amount. It is also important to know when to accept a settlement, or when to take the case to court. With so many considerations, it is generally best to have the help and guidance of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. All of these calculations and the hassles of insurance claim paperwork can be taken off your hands, handled by the attorney with vast knowledge of these matters and your state’s laws.
Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency. This means that you do not add to present expenses by having to pay for the lawyer until your case is settled or won. With their own fees on the line as part of your motorcycle accident case, your lawyer will be committed to working hard for your lost income and other expense compensation.
David Michael Cantor is a phoenix-based personal injury attorney with three firms and is also the co-founder of a retargeting startup for lawyers called geobid.