Adjust lost wages for Social Security Disability Income in a personal injury case?

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Question:

When calculating lost wages in personal injury cases, do you adjust for Social Security Disability Income?

Answer:

Damages awarded from an accident claim can include compensation for lost past or future wages. The factors included when establishing the amount of the award differ for each state and in each lawsuit. Generally, Social Security Disability Income is not factored into compensation for lost wages, unless the plaintiff was already receiving the benefits.

Past Social Security benefits are those which are already awarded or received by the plaintiff from the Social Security Administration. This means that the plaintiff was already disabled, submitted an application to the Administration and was approved to receive benefits. Future Social Security Disability benefits are those which have not yet been awarded, either because an application is pending or because the plaintiff has not yet applied for them.

Disability payments will not be included in calculation of compensation for lost wages if they are not already awarded by and given to the plaintiff. The reason for this is because there is no way to guarantee that the Administration will award benefits to the plaintiff or how much it will award. Therefore, this amount cannot be included in compensation.

However, a plaintiff which is subsequently approved for disability benefits can be brought back to court to have their damage award altered. While this would require at least a hearing on the issue, the defendant might be entitled to a slight reduction in the amount they owe. This capability is intended to prevent the plaintiff from receiving an excessive amount of compensation for their injuries and the defendant from being unjustly penalized.

If you want to know whether disability benefits will be included in the calculations for your damage award for a personal injury claim, seek the advice of a lawyer. An attorney will review your case and discuss the possible amount of compensation you could receive for your lost wages.

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