If you’re injured in a car accident, there is a good chance you’ll be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The question is whether you can demand damages for lost future income if you’re close to retirement. Our Gainesville accident attorneys can help answer that question for you.
Your Gainesville Accident Attorney Has to Prove Your Case Before You Think About Damages
Before you can start thinking about how much your case is worth, your attorney needs to prove your case. Our car accident lawyers in Gainesville handle hundreds of cases every year. There’s no way to know upfront how much a particular case is worth.
In order to receive damages, your Gainesville accident attorney will have to prove fault. This means they’ll have to show that the other driver was negligent. As long as they can prove this, there’s a good chance you’ll be compensated for your injuries.
Will Your Car Accident Lawyer in Gainesville Be Able to Prove Negligence?
To prove negligence, your car accident lawyer in Gainesville will have to prove four things. These include:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care – This should not be difficult as all drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists.
- The defendant breached this duty of care – If you can show that the defendant violated one of the local traffic laws, it will suffice.
- You were injured – You aren’t entitled to damages unless you can prove that you were injured
- Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s negligence – If the defendant can show that your injuries were caused by something else, you may not win your case
What if the Defendant Argues That You Were Partially at Fault?
In most of the cases our car accident lawyers in Gainesville handle, the defendant claims that our client was at fault. The truth is that very rarely is one driver 100% responsible for a car crash. Usually, both drivers play a role.
If the defendant claims you caused the accident, they’ll have to prove it. Their attorney will have to submit specific evidence to show fault on your part. Even if they do, you can still collect damages.
The Good News is Georgia Follows the Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
Like many other states, Georgia follows something called the modified comparative negligence rule. According to Georgia Statute §51-12-33, a plaintiff can still collect damages, as long as they are less than 50% at fault.
This means that, unless the other driver can prove that you were primarily responsible for the crash, you’ll be compensated. You may not get as much as you wanted, but you’ll get something.
You Can Still Collect Damages, But They May Be Reduced
While you may still collect damages, they will be reduced by your percentage of fault. Imagine that you sue somebody for $100,000 in a rear-end collision. The court finds you to be 20% at fault.
Your damages will be reduced by $20,000 since that is 20% of $100,000. You will only be entitled to $80,000 instead of the full $100,000.
Your Gainesville Accident Attorney Will Typically Demand Economic and Non-Economic Damages
When your car accident lawyer in Gainesville files your complaint, they must list your damages. There are two types of damages: economic and non-economic. For economic damages, you’ll need to submit specific proof.
When it comes to non-economic damages, it isn’t that easy. For example, if you’re demanding compensation for pain and suffering, there is no receipt for that. We will explain the other types of non-economic damages below.
Economic Damages Are Those Losses You Can Prove with Receipts
Economic damages typically include bills that you either paid or will have to pay as a result of their car accident. These include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
Non-Economic Damages Are Intended to Compensate You for Intangible Losses
As for non-economic damages, they tend to be intangible. As mentioned above, pain and suffering would be considered non-economic damages.
Some of the other types include:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of quality of life
These things are much harder to prove than economic damages.
Lost Future Income May Make Up the Lion’s Share of Your Case
In most car accident lawsuits in Gainesville, lost future income and pain and suffering make up a large part of your settlement. Pain and suffering is usually estimated to be valued at three times your medical bills.
Lost future income represents the money you would have earned but will not because of your injuries. It is calculated by subtracting what you will now earn going forward and what you would have earned.
If You’re Older, the Defendant Will Claim You Aren’t Entitled to Lost Future Income
Lost future income can be rather difficult to prove for some of the older clients our Gainesville accident attorneys have represented. The defendant is going to argue that you have either reached retirement age or are close to retiring.
The good news is that there is no hard-fast rule about when a person retires. For example, for state income tax purposes, a person can fully retire at the age of 62. But that doesn’t mean you are required to do so.
You May Still Be Entitled to Some Compensation for Lost Future Income
As long as you are still working at the time of your accident, your car accident lawyer in Gainesville will fight to get you damages for lost future income. For all the defendant knows, you planned on working until you were 75 or 80.
Imagine that you were making $80,000 a year prior to the accident. Due to your injuries, you will be forced to go on disability. Imagine again that you will receive $40,000 a year on disability. This is a difference of $40,000.
Your Gainesville accident attorney will show that you would’ve worked for another ten years. That comes out to be $400,000. They will then show what this is worth in present-day value and include it in your settlement negotiations.
What Evidence Can Your Car Accident Lawyer in Gainesville Use to Prove Future Income?
In order to collect damages for lost future income, your Gainesville accident attorney will have to demonstrate what your future income would have been. Some of the things they will need to show include:
- Your work does not require much in the way of physical labor so you can reasonably be expected to work for another 10 or 15 years
- You were in perfect health at the time of the crash
- Your hours have not slowed down over the past 5 years
- There are long-term projects that you were working on before the accident
This is the kind of information that will help prove your intention of working for many years to come.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Retain an Experienced Gainesville Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in any kind of motor vehicle accident, you may have a claim for damages. The only way to know for sure is to contact one of our car accident lawyers in Gainesville.
We do offer new clients a free, initial consultation. This gives you the opportunity to sit down with someone who knows the law in Georgia. They can review your claim free of charge and let you know what your options are.