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The challenge of estimating lost income for wrongful death claims

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Wrongful Death

The unexpected and premature death of a family member can cause a variety of economic challenges for those left behind. Those grieving a recent tragedy in Texas sometimes reach the realization that a wrongful death lawsuit is likely their best option. A successful wrongful death lawsuit can lead to compensation for a variety of economic losses related to someone’s death while creating consequences for the party responsible for the tragedy.

One of the biggest losses that families may need to offset is the future income of the deceased individual. Given that it may be one of the main contributing elements to the overall value of the lawsuit, accurately calculating lost income is important for those seeking justice after a tragedy. Families sometimes find that determining the value of a lifetime of lost wages is more difficult than they initially expected.

There is no simple formula to calculate lost wages

It may seem simple to estimate the income someone could have provided their family members had they survived. People might look at their current salary and multiply that by the number of years left until that person would have reached retirement age.

Unfortunately, that simplistic approach produces a figure that is unreasonably low. Most professionals do not maintain the same income rate throughout their careers. Their hourly pay or salary increases because they become more adept at performing their jobs. Many people seek new positions, such as supervisor or managerial roles, that may increase what they earn.

Even if a worker does not actively seek out new positions, cost of living wage increases could alter their income a little bit from year to year. That can add up over several decades to significantly increase someone’s overall pay level. There is also the value added by employment benefits such as health insurance and paid leave.

An overly-simplistic approach to estimating lost wages could mean setting the value far too low. Families attempting to calculate the income that a loved one could have earned may require assistance making appropriate adjustments to someone’s current income levels and estimating how their earning potential may have grown as their career developed.

The support of someone familiar with such calculations can benefit those preparing for a wrongful death lawsuit. Having assistance may make it easier for families to establish realistic estimates for losses, including someone’s future earning potential.