Proving Wage Loss in Florida Personal Injury Cases

1376722_calculator_closeup.jpgUnfortunately, accidents on the road, whether you’re in a car, scooter, truck or walking around as a pedestrian, are all too common on Florida’s busy streets. One common kind of loss you might experience after a serious accident in which you are injured is lost wages. After an accident you may have to take time off from work to rest and recuperate. In severe accidents, you may be left with a temporary or permanent disability.

In Florida personal injury lawsuits, courts use a standard of reasonable certainty when looking at the facts of injury and causation. This is considered more critical than having reasonable certainty about specific losses arising from the injury.

While you don’t need hard, documentary evidence or file income tax returns to prove every earning with absolute certainty, it’s important to keep records. If you get into an accident, you should file your receipts, tax returns, and doctor’s notes into an earmarked file and turn them over to your personal injury lawyer. Similarly, if you have to see a vocational rehabilitation counselor, save any written notes or information that person gives you, in case it becomes relevant to your case.

In a recent case, an appellate court explained that the jury can make decisions regarding wage loss on the basis of credible testimony. The case arose when a man on his scooter traveled over a part of the pavement that was being resurfaced by a paving contractor and hit a manhole pipe.


The man was thrown from the scooter and was hurt on the road. At trial, the jury found the paving contractor negligent and that the man should recover $532,294.54, which included awards for past medical expenses, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, past lost earnings, and future lost earning capacity.

The paving contractor appealed solely about the past lost earnings and future lost earning capacity wages. It argued that the plaintiff hadn’t offered much solid testimony or evidence regarding what he’d earned or would be able to earn in the future. Only one witness offered numerical evidence on earnings, past and future. Another had offered evidence about seeing the plaintiff at work as a personal trainer. The plaintiff had not filed tax returns, saved receipts or other records of expenses, and had no testimony from his clients.

Instead, the plaintiff had testified as to estimates about what he’d been paid in the past and his expectations about what he would be paid in the future. He also put on a medical expert about his disability rating.

The appellate court reviewed the question of whether that evidence, without further hard evidence corroborating the plaintiff’s earnings, was enough for the plaintiff to prove past lost earnings and loss of earning capacity with “reasonable certainty.”
Of course, just because it’s possible to present testimony to prove wage loss, doesn’t mean this is the best or most reliable way. It’s always better to corroborate all of your personal injury claims, including those for specific wage losses.

If you are in a serious accident that is caused by somebody else’s negligence or reckless behavior, you may want to bring a personal injury lawsuit to recover the losses you’ve suffered. Contact the experienced South Florida motor vehicle accident attorneys at Friedman, Rodman & Frank toll-free for a free consultation at (877) 448-8585.

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Florida School Sued After Student’s Sports Injury, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, June 13, 2013
Florida Appellate Court Applies Slip and Fall Law Retroactively, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, May 31, 2013

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