If someone causes you financial or personal harm through misconduct or negligence, then you may have rights under state law. Specifically, you may have the right to request compensation for the negative impact of their behavior or failure on your life and your family.
When you file a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim against another person or business, the Washington courts expect you to ask for a specific amount of compensation. Obviously, making a claim for verifiable financial costs, like hospital bills and vehicle repair expenses, will be part of that allowance.
You also have to think about the lost wages of the person affected. If they suffered a severe injury or died, there will be a permanent change to their earning potential and therefore the financial circumstances for your family. How do you determine the accurate amount of their future wages?
Account for raises and benefits
When you think about what someone’s work is worth, you need to think about how long they would have continued working. You also have to consider how people make more per hour or year when they have more experience at their job. It is not unrealistic to expect that someone would have received raises and promotions if they had been able to continue in the same profession.
Even if they were not ambitious at work, cost-of-living raises would increase their wages every few years. Estimating those increases and predicting someone’s future income takes research. There are also the benefits someone receives from work, including insurance and even paid time off. A good benefits package could be worth as much as 30% of someone’s annual salary on top of whatever they receive in their paycheck.
Setting an accurate figure is important when filing a civil lawsuit, as you likely won’t be able to go back to court later with revised figures even if you failed to account for specific costs and losses.
Doing the math can be stressful for those in survival mode
Whether you are frantically trying to adjust to life with a major injury or grieve a loved one who died unexpectedly, trying to make sense of a big insurance claim or file a civil lawsuit can overwhelm you. It’s easy to make mistakes when navigating an unfamiliar system and when under personal stress.
Partnering with professionals that understand the law and the civil court process will maximize what you can claim in an upcoming personal injury lawsuit, such as a wrongful death claim.