By Rusty Galloway
People often ask me, how much is my case worth? I am compelled to tell them–“It depends.”
It depends on the injuries. It depends on how long it takes to get better. It depends on how much money is available to recover. It depends on many things, and the answer is not that simple, even to a seasoned lawyer. Join us for the final installment of our three part series as we discuss recovering lost wages after being involved in an accident.
When I ask clients in a big personal injury matter, “where do you think we make the most money?” They invariably say, “Pain and Suffering.” I tell them “most of the time, that’s wrong.” Then, they guess, “medical bills,” and I tell them, wrong again. Most money in personal injury cases comes from “lost wages.” Think of it like this, say you have a 25 year old with a high school education working in the Oil Field earning $80,000 a year, and he injures his back, requiring a surgery. Where is he going to earn $80,000 a year again? He will be expected to go back to work, but the problem is, since he performed manual labor before the accident, he will probably earn between $25,000 to 35,000 a year after some time working up the ladder at a new field. He has a significant loss in income for the next 42 years. It’s easy to see how his wage loss can be between a Million and 2.4 Million dollars.
So, how is a wage claim determined? First, the plaintiff will have to meet with a Vocational Rehabilitation Expert. The Voc Rehab Expert will give the plaintiff an I.Q. test, aptitude test, perform a complete past job interview and workup, review the medical records to get a handle on the injuries, surgeries and then meet with the treating physician to determine where the doctor is going to limit his work activities when he is finally at MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement). Many times, the Voc Rehab Expert will also prepare a “Life Care Plan” based upon what medical treatment/procedures the treating physician says the plaintiff/patient will need during the course of his life.
Following this interview, the Vocational Rehab Expert will prepare a report outlining his opinion on what he believes would be the best vocational opportunities for the plaintiff to pursue. His report will be forwarded to an “Economist” who will also prepare a report based upon the numbers presented in the Vocational Rehab Report, outlining past medical bills, future medical bills, past lost wages and his opinion on future lost wages/earnings capacity.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident and aren’t sure where to turn, the attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat are here to help. We will be your biggest advocate and represent you with the dignity you deserve.
The circumstances of each case are different. Our firm cannot guarantee that in any situation, including the examples mentioned in this blog, are grounds for legal action until the circumstances surrounding that specific event have been reviewed by an attorney. To find out if an incident is grounds for a legal claim, please call us today at 337-326-5426 or contact our office for a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.