What are Lost Wages?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 23 February 2020
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In compensation lawsuits, lost wages are wages which someone could not earn because of the actions of the defendant. The plaintiff is entitled to sue for lost wages and other compensation related to the defendant's actions. Wages that were lost are not the same thing as future wages; when a family sues, for example, because it lost future earnings when the breadwinner was killed in an accident, this is not considered a case in which people are suing for lost wages. This is because the wages haven't been lost because the person could not work, they will never be earned because the person is no longer able to earn them.

A classic example of a situation in which lost wages might come up would be when someone is injured in a car accident which is the fault of the other driver. If the injured driver had to take three days off from work to recover from the accident, the driver could sue for lost wages, arguing that those days were only missed because of the car accident, and that the driver at fault is responsible for them. In this particular case, the dealings are usually made through the insurance companies, rather than through the drivers directly, and the injured driver could also sue for the expense of medical care, repairs to the car, and other expenses related to the accident.


A lost wages claim can be used in cases of accidents, disability, and other incidents in which someone missed work as a result of the actions of someone else. In order to receive compensation, the plaintiff would have to demonstrate that the defendant's actions led to the wages being lost, and that the defendant should be held liable. In some cases, the parties may settle out of court, reaching an agreement for an amount which seems reasonable to both, while in other instances, it may be necessary to bring the case before a judge.

Lost wages are often added to a larger suit for damages, in part to inflate the total amount. People may sue for more than they expect to recover with the goal of getting an award which will be fair in their opinion. Starting with a low and reasonable request for compensation leaves a plaintiff with no bargaining room should the defendant be interested in settling. Conversely, asking for far too much may result in the case being thrown out of court as a judge may determine that the request is too unrealistic.

In several nations, people can buy lost wages insurance products. These insurance products are designed to compensate people if they lose wages due to accident or disability. This type of insurance is also sometimes known as income protection insurance. People who would be vulnerable if they were unable to make money may opt to buy this type of insurance to provide coverage in the event of a catastrophe; income protection can prevent the loss of a home and other financial hardships which might result if someone was no longer able to work. This product provides coverage for people who may be injured or disabled in situations in which a compensation suit would not apply; someone who develops chronic fatigue syndrome and can no longer work, for example, might use this insurance.


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Post 1

Any good negligence attorney will be sure to include lost wages in a client's case. Whether dealing with personal injury claims or work compensation, lost wages pose a real financial burden to the plaintiff who has lost work time due to the actions of the defendant. It is only fair that these losses are compensated in the final outcome of the lawsuit.

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