Beyond 1040: Six Sources of Evidence on Lost Earnings
A plaintiff’s tax returns are generally the primary source of evidence on the extent of lost past and future income in a personal injury or wrongful death matter, but other records and evidence may clarify and augment the loss analysis. Consider these sources when preparing a damages case:
- Lifetime annual income records, available from the Social Security Administration by filing form SSA-7050-F4: http://www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-7050.pdf
- Employers’ personnel files, which can show a wealth of information on the plaintiff’s current and probable future income.
- Collective bargaining agreements can provide detailed data on the compensation of union members.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains data on compensation in many fields.
- Trade associations can often provide information on wages.
- Headhunters and employment agencies might provide wage and income data for various specialized occupations.
These sources of information can assist in analyzing actual loss and help guide further discovery.