When calculating the total compensation from a personal injury claim, you may include lost wages to maximize your payout. However, you must prove that another party’s negligence caused the injury. You may also need to justify that you missed work due to the accident-related injury.
This article will help you understand lost wages and how to include them in your personal injury compensation.
What Are Lost Wages?
Lost wages are the actual income you would have earned but missed due to a reasonable and necessary circumstance, such as an injury from a car accident.
When considering lost wages in your compensation, you may check the following factors that may add to your lost income:
You may include the overtime pay in your settlement if you consistently work beyond the standard working hours. When doing so, you must present a document from the employer or pay stubs showing that you have been paid overtime frequently.
In the event that you were involved in an accident due to someone else’s negligence at the time of your bonus release, you may insist that the bonus amount be added to your settlement. The critical thing to remember is that you will need to prove to the insurance provider that you missed your bonus due to the accident through any documentation of your past rewards.
Sick and vacation days
Some employers expect you to use your sick and vacation days if you need to recover from an injury. However, you must know that these paid leaves should have been used for another illness or a real vacation. You may contend for compensation for the used sick or vacation leaves.
When calculating the total wages, you may seek the help of a lost wage attorney who can determine which factors can be considered to maximize your payout.
Who Pays for Lost Wages in a Car Accident?
Generally, the at-fault party’s insurance provider should cover the damages of an accident, including your lost wages.
However, you must prove that another driver’s negligence caused the car accident to be able to receive compensation from their insurance company. This is possible if you can justify the four elements of negligence, namely:
- The driver had the responsibility to ensure everyone’s safety, including yours.
- They neglected this duty.
- The breach caused your accident.
- The crash resulted in injuries and other damages.
Who Pays for the Lost Wages if the At-Fault Driver Leaves the Accident Scene?
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, your lost wages may be paid by your insurance provider. This is especially true if you have uninsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage can pay for the following damages if you are hit by a driver who flees the scene of the accident:
- medical bills.
- vehicle repair or replacement costs,
- lost wages, and
- medical expenses of any of your passengers.
How to Calculate Lost Wages
To calculate lost wages, you must do the following:
- Determine your daily wage.
- Multiply your daily wage by the number of missed work days.
- Include additional monetary losses, such as missed bonuses.
- If you have irregular working hours, you must get the average number of hours. Then, multiply this by the number of missed working days and your hourly pay rate.
For instance, you were involved in a car accident, causing you to miss ten working days. If you have a daily wage of $225, multiply $225 by 10 (225 x 10). This gives you lost wages amounting to $2,250.
While it may seem uncomplicated, you may overlook other damages to include in your settlement. A lost wages attorney can help compute the total lost wages by checking the possible factors to consider and including them in your compensation, such as overtime pay and missed bonuses.
How to Prove Lost Wages
You may only claim compensation for lost wages if you can prove that you missed work due to the accident-related injury. The insurance provider will likely need one or more of the following documents to support your lost wages:
- W-2(s) from the previous tax year,
- pay stubs,
- bonus structure documentation
- paid leave documentation,
- wage verification from your employer
- medical certificate or records from your doctor.
It is important to note that your employer should also provide documentation or a letter proving the following:
- your work title,
- the date you were hired,
- proof that you were employed at the time of your accident,
- your working hours,
- your daily wage,
- your usual overtime hours,
- number of paid leaves,
- bonus structure,
- overtime rate,
- number of missed working days, and
- other lost perks.
How to Calculate Lost Wages for Self-Employed
If you are self-employed, you may still receive compensation for lost wages. While this may seem more complicated than an employee with a standard daily income, you may prove your lost wages by presenting documentation, such as:
- income tax returns,
- business statements showcasing your average revenue,
- estimated tax pay-ins, and
- letters from your clients justifying that you failed to provide services to them.
This information should verify your lost wages from the accident. However, you may need assistance from lost wages attorneys to calculate your average revenue and prove it to the insurance provider.
Can I Recover Lost Wages from a Car Accident Without Injury?
You may only be qualified for lost wages if you sustained injuries in an accident. However, there are specific circumstances under which you may contend for compensation for lost income.
Let’s say you were on your way to your office when a driver hit you. The crash, then, caused you to miss your work. In such cases, you may include the lost wages from the collision date.
Remember that you may recover lost wages from a car accident without injury if your missed work is directly related to the crash.
When to Consider Future Loss of Income in Your Personal Injury Claim
Future loss of income refers to the possible loss of wages if an injury from an accident persists and refrains you from earning.
There are several instances where you may consider the future loss of earnings in your personal injury claim, such as:
- You incur a permanent injury from the accident, causing you to lose your ability to work.
- You can’t work in the same capacity as you did before the accident due to your injuries.
- The accident reduced your anticipated working career. For instance, you have worked at a company for almost 20 years. You were supposed to retire in three years, but you had an accident. In this case, you may retrieve compensation for the 3-year worth of labor, including the possible annual raise you should have.
Computing for the future loss of earnings may be challenging. You must hire lost wage attorneys for personal injury cases to include lost earning capacity in your settlement.
Who Can Help Me Calculate My Total Compensation?
Aside from the lost wages, there are other damages to consider when computing your total compensation, including:
- medical expenses,
- vehicle repair or replacement costs,
- future loss of income,
- out-of-pocket expenses,
- pain and suffering,
- emotional distress, and
- loss of life enjoyment.
If you suffer from significant injuries caused by an accident, you may need to focus on your recovery. You will likely miss some damages that should have maximized your payout in such circumstances. A legal expert may help you examine your case and determine all damages when computing your restitution.
A personal injury lawyer can do the following to win your case:
- Collect sufficient evidence to support your claim.
- Prove liability.
- Calculate the total damage.
- Communicate with the insurance provider.
- Protect your rights in a trial if needed.
Jacoby & Meyers has passionate accident attorneys with expertise in calculating lost wages and computing a maximized payout. We will investigate your case, determine all damages, and defend your rights so you can receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 800-922-2222 for a free consultation.