A New Jersey accident law firm often realizes that many red flags may be raised when the issue of lost earnings is considered. For example:
- Is the earnings loss “net” or “gross”?
- How does the claimant make a living?
- Is the person self-employed or receive a salary?
- Do certifiable records of income exist?
Because most salaried people have verifiable earnings records available, loss of earnings problems usually occur for claimants who are self-employed.
Claimants have a responsibility to mitigate damages. Therefore, a self-employed person such as a contractor, lawyer, accountant, or doctor must hire a replacement. The self-employed person cannot simply sit back, refrain from working and accrue a loss of profits. The usual earnings loss is the amount paid to the replacement, unless there is a distinct disparity between an available replacement and the injured person who hires them.
Corroborating Medical Records
Not only must the earnings loss be weighed against the substantiated injuries, but the medical reports must also corroborate the fact that the injured party is unable to perform his or her usual job due to the disability claimed. You and your New Jersey accident law firm should attempt to show that there is a reasonable relationship among the actual injuries, the time of full or partial disability, and the amount of time lost from work.
It is also true that overtreatment could be disputed and therefore the loss of time from the claimant’s employment could be improper. Overextended absences from work and overtreatment, such as unnecessary physiotherapy, should be questioned vigorously by the adjuster. In the event they have not been presented, are good records obtainable or can they be easily and accurately estimated?
When looked at from both a loss of income and medical point of view, certain occupations come under suspicion simply by their very existence in the claim. Some of these include:
- Truck drivers
- Taxi drivers
- Iron workers
- Ambulance drivers
- Musicians and actors
Additional considerations are required when rental cars are involved, since it is not uncommon for rental vehicles to be utilized in staged accidents.
If you would like to discuss your situation with an experienced and knowledgeable trial attorney at a New Jersey accident law firm, please contact the Clark Law Firm, PC by calling 877-841-8855.