Is the driver liable for my loss of income?

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Is the driver liable for my loss of income?

Last Wednesday at the barbershop I work in, an impaired woman smashed through the front entrance causing us to shut down temporarily. This left me without immediate employment during one of the busier weeks/weekends (Father’s Day). I have a weekly income that I can show from customer credit card records that has been affected. Will I be able to seek reimbursement from anyone? The driver, the shop owner, insurances?

Asked on June 17, 2017 under Accident Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The shop owner and their insurer are not liable in any way, because 1) they were not at fault in causing the accident or its consequences; and 2) an employer has no obligation to employees for lost income in any event, since all employment is "employment at will"--you have no enforceable right to a job or income.
The driver may be  liable: since she was impaired and at fault, she can be held responsible for the reasonably foreseeable consequences of her actions, which a court could conclude includes the lost income of workers displaced or unable to work due to the accident. If  a court did find her liable, she and/or her liability insurer (if she has insurance, and depending on what her coverage includes) would have to pay. You would have to sue her for the  money, if she will not voluntarily pay; while it is not certain you'd win (a court could instead decide that you losing income because she smashed into a shop not owned by you is not sufficiently foreseeable as to support liability), it is probably worth the modest cost and effort of a small claims suit where you act as your own attorney, or "pro se." 


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