Can I Be Reimbursed for Lost Earnings in My Iowa Car Accident Case?

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Posted by Tim Semelroth

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Iowa, your injuries may prevent you from working.  If so, then you may be eligible to claim lost earnings in your Iowa car accident case.

What Are Lost Earnings?

The definition of “lost earnings” is the money that you lost because you were not able to work due to your injuries from the crash.  This loss is calculated from the time of the accident to the time of settlement or your personal injury trial.

If you are asking for lost earnings in your Iowa personal injury case, you must prove to the other side how much money you lost.

This proof begins by showing that your injuries prevented you from working for a period of time.  The best proof on this issue often comes in the form of a note from a treating doctor who is taking you off work because of your injuries.  Sometimes, a doctor will put a recommendation to take time off of work in your medical records.

The next step is to prove how much money you would have made if you could physically work.  You will have to prove your earnings history by providing the other side with your tax returns and pay stubs.  Often, it is helpful to get a letter from your employer explaining that work was available for you at a particular rate of pay during the time your injuries prevented you from working.

The calculation of lost earnings can be more complicated if you own your own business or work on commission.  In those situations, it is often necessary to hire a financial expert to review your records and offer a detailed analysis of how your injuries affected your earnings.

Loss of Future Earning Capacity

Your injuries may affect you in a way where you can no longer do the work you used to do – and therefore cannot earn as much money as you used to.  If this happens, you may be entitled to something called “loss of future earning capacity” damages.  Loss of future earning capacity is a calculation that determines your ability to earn money during your lifetime.  It is a very complex economic calculation that involves several factors, including:

  • Your workplace experience and skills
  • How severe your injuries are
  • Statistical data on how long you will live

An economic expert will be hired by your attorney to determine this calculation and present it to the other side.

The Statute of Limitations on Your Iowa Car Accident Case

You have a limited amount of time to get compensation for lost earnings after a car crash.  This time limit is known as the statute of limitations.  In Iowa, the statute of limitations is normally two years from the date of the crash.  If you have not filed a lawsuit or settled your case by that date, you may lose out on compensation for lost wages or loss of future earnings.

It’s a good idea to speak with an experienced Iowa car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your crash.  The consultation is usually free, and you will get important information on what next steps to take.

If you’d like to know how to pick the right car accident lawyer for you, fill out the form on the right side of this page to download a FREE copy of the Law Guide to Iowa Car Accident Claims.

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