New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

Do You have to Turn Over Your Tax Returns in Your Personal Injury Case

Posted on Apr 5, 2015 in Personal Injury FAQs

Do you have to turn over your tax returns in a personal injury case such as accident case or medical malpractice case?

What income and benefits have you lost because of your injuries?

Tax returns are necessary for calculating loss of income due to personal injury

Tax returns are necessary for calculating loss of income due to personal injury.

In a personal injury case, the key question to answer this particular question is, what type of damages or what type of injuries or disabilities you have suffered from because of someone else’s carelessness. If it turns out, you are unable to work because of that injury, the question now becomes, how much income have you lost? What type of benefits did you lose? How much income did you lose from the time of the incident, up until the time of trial, and how much you are expected to lose from trial in the near future? All this information needs to be ascertained.

How to Calculate Lost Income

Now, if you did in fact lose income and you lost money as a direct result of the injuries you suffered, the defense will turn around and ask for your tax returns. The defense would like to see your tax returns to know what you have earned in the past few years before you suffered your injuries. The defense wants this information since they want to know how much you were earning which is pivotal. Once you provide your tax returns, the defense will have a baseline to go ahead and evaluate whether what you are claiming is true.

Do you have to turn over your tax returns?

However, the question is: do you really have to turn over your tax returns? The answer to this question is that you have to turn over your tax returns, only if you are self-employed. If you are working for a company, then you are not required to provide your tax returns. Instead, you will have to turn over your W-2 forms for about three years before the incident or accident took place.

This gives defense the opportunity to see what you have earned year by year, and they can now calculate based upon the time you were no longer working, how much income you lost, as a direct result of their client’s carelessness.

In a personal injury case, the actual monetary loss suffered by you will mainly include your medical bills, all treatment costs of your injuries, and the income you have lost because you could not attend your regular work due to your injuries. Treatment costs will be calculated based on the various medical and treatment bills you have paid and will be paying in future. For the lost income, you have to show what you were earning up to a recent date, right before you were hurt, which if not available in your tax returns could be available in your pay receipts.

Therefore, if you have filed a personal injury case in an accident or medical malpractice matter, you will have to turn over your tax returns only if you are self-employed. If you are working on salary for a private business then you need to turn over your W-2s.

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