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Another Hazard Of Getting Paid "Under The Table"

An element of damages in a personal injury or wrongful death case is loss of earnings or loss of earning capacity. This is typically verified by providing a chronological history regarding a litigant's earnings including their education and training in an effort to provide a jury a reasonable basis upon which to analyze and project loss of earnings.

A roadblock to this arises whenever someone is paid "under the table". This can raise questions in the mind of jurors when it appears someone didn't give appropriate attention to their responsibilities under the law as it comes down to paying the appropriate taxes and account for their earnings. This is often devastating in a personal injury case.

A judge may decide to exclude the loss of earnings claim based on the fact that there is no documentation as to the losses. Being paid "under the table" usually means being paid in cash; and neither the employee, nor the employer usually wants this recorded somewhere. It gives rise to a landslide of liabilities along with substantiated claims of illegal activity with attached fines, penalties, interest and payments. Judges don't tend to look kindly on people trying to avoid paying taxes and meeting their responsibilities and later, when it suits their circumstances and want to claim the benefit of a damages award in a lawsuit.

Almost always, even if the judge permits the claim to go forward the credibility of the injured worker is brought front and center and is damaged under the expected attack of a good defense attorney. The defense attorney needs only to point out the plaintiff has continually lied to the government and caused all the rest of our good citizens to pay taxes, including making up for the plaintiff's failure to pay those same taxes. We have even seen cases where a defense attorney will say to the jury something like you "if you work you are expected to pay the appropriate employment taxes. Don't you think the plaintiff has that same responsibility?" This might be enough of an integrity question to earn a defense verdict. If the plaintiff chooses to avoid this potentially catastrophic scenario, he or she can decide not to make a wage loss claim and avoid any testimony about his or her employment. This decision is also risky as the jury may get the impression that the Plaintiff is not working and therefore, not a productive member of society. While there are ways for attorneys to avoid the damaging potential of this information, it is not always easy or successful.

We represent people who are injured because of the careless and reckless acts of others. At the end of the day your case can only be settled one time and you need to know all of the facts beforehand. The reason that insurance companies have paid our clients in excess of $130,000,000.00 is that we get the facts and are not intimidated at the prospect of going to trial when they refuse to follow the law. We help with serious issues that require serious representation. We are the Law Offices of Guenard & Bozarth. We have over 80 years of experience in our plaintiff's only law firm. Call GB Legal 24/7/365 at 888-809-1075 or visit We Can Help!

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