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Recovering lost wages after a California car accident

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2023 | Automobile Accidents

Car accidents can be so devastating that they force you to miss work. As a result, you could miss out on wages you desperately need. If someone else caused the car accident, however, you may be able to recover those lost wages plus anticipated future earning capacity through a personal injury claim in California.


Motor vehicle accidents are often a result of both drivers’ mistakes. However, the court must use the pure comparative negligence system to find the person with the most liability for the accident, called the “at-fault” driver. Simply put, in the state of California you can recover damages (e.g. medical bills, lost income, pain/suffering, etc.) equivalent to the percent that you were not at fault.

For example, if someone rear-ended you while you stopped at an intersection, they would likely be the at-fault party (100% responsible). But, if you were driving at high speeds when the other driver ran a stop sign and knocked on your car, the judge may also hold you partially responsible for the accident. As such, your compensation will reduce by your determined percentage of fault.

Making a claim

The first step in recovering lost wages is to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the extent of their coverage is sufficient to compensate for your damages, their insurance company will proceed with a settlement payment.

In cases where the severity of your damages is significant and expected to result in an extended absence from work, you may be eligible for greater compensation. In this case, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit in which you must prove your lost wages and anticipated future earning capacity, if any.

The court will consider variables such as:

  • The number of months you’ll be unable to work
  • Business growth potential (i.e., if you have your own business or were self-employed)
  • Promotions
  • Pensions and retirement plans
  • Periodic raises and bonuses

Recovering lost wages following a car accident in California can be complex, requiring a clear understanding of the state’s fault laws and the ability to prove the other driver’s responsibility. If you have sustained injuries in a car accident and are facing lost wages, contact The Law Office of Aman N. Shah today to explore your legal options.