Can I Recover Future Lost Income After an Accident in New York?

Some car accident injuries are so serious that a person will either never recover or will not be able to return to the same job they had before the collision. You can recover future lost income in some New York accident claims, but much will depend on your injury severity, occupation, age, and education.

A New York City personal injury lawyer from Douglas and London can hold those responsible for your injuries accountable, and negotiate with the insurance company for future lost wages. While most claims are settled, we will head to trial if the insurer does not agree to a reasonable settlement.

Economic Damages

In a personal injury case, any damages awarded are either economic or non-economic. Future lost income falls in the first category, which also includes lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, and related out-of-pocket costs. Unlike non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, economic damages are usually easy to calculate.

However, of all the types of economic damages, determining future lost wages is the least straightforward. This is because it consists of more than adding up a specific set of numbers. Future lost wages are very much an individual matter, dependent on a variety of circumstances.

Future Lost Income

Future lost income is not the same as lost wages. The former income comes into play when a person suffers a severe or catastrophic injury. Such injuries may include head or spinal cord trauma, or multiple fractures.

A doctor must certify that your injuries are such that you can never work again or perform your normal job responsibilities. For example, a surgeon whose hands were crushed in an accident will never work in their former occupation again. As a professional, they might find another type of employment, but not as a surgeon.

A person whose job consisted primarily of physical labor may never work again after a severe injury. The same holds for a person whose job required careful concentration but suffered head injuries and subsequent intellectual impairment in the accident.

Family and friends might testify about the life changes of the individual since the accident. That would include the inability to pursue specific interests or participate in family and other activities.

Determining Future Lost Income

Future lost income is determined by a specific formula. These factors include the individual’s current wages, career path, the likelihood of promotion, work history, education, skills, and age. Additional considerations could include whether the person earned a fixed salary or was paid partly on commission or performance. Health history before the injury is another component. Further, the employer will provide information regarding the employee’s future potential and opportunities for promotion.

An economic or vocational expert then prepares a report analyzing the industry in which the injured party is employed and their job duties. The report states how the person’s injuries and prognosis affect their ability to perform their job both physically and cognitively.

The doctor may recommend lighter duties for the patient. The future lost wages are then the difference between what the person earned in their former position and what they earn in their new, presumably lesser-paying role.  Their ability to obtain raises or otherwise advance in their career is another point.


When a self-employed person is seriously injured, it is possible to prove future lost income through bank statements and tax returns. Clients might send documentation stating the person was no longer capable of fulfilling their duties. Again, an economic expert could provide data on the amount of the person’s lost income based on current market trends and past business history.

Contact a New York Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were so seriously injured in a car accident due to another party’s negligence that you may never work in your former occupation, you need the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer from Douglas and London.

Take advantage of our offer for a free consultation by calling or texting us 24/7 or submitting our online form to schedule an appointment.  Our seasoned attorneys have recovered more than $18 billion in settlements and verdicts for clients. There is no fee unless you receive compensation. Hablamos Español.