If you have been the victim of an accident, you understand that the strain of dealing with your injuries is doubly compounded by your concern about the financial consequences that accompany missing work. Not only does a car accident injury often require extensive medical attention, but it may also mean a time-consuming recovery process that not everyone can afford. It’s not fair. The accident wasn’t your fault.
Thankfully, the law agrees with you, and there are ways for you to prepare to file for lost wages that can compensate you for the time and work reparation you lost during your recovery.
Lost Wages Calculator
Be sure to learn about possible case values with our car accident settlement calculator. Calculating your income losses can get complicated pretty quickly. On paper, it’s simple math. However, when you take into consideration certain variables, such as sales positions and bonuses, determining the exact amount you are owed gets a little tricky.
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Calculating lost wages depends upon several factors:
- The length of time you were out of work
- The severity of your injuries
- Potential additions to your current salary
The following are the basic hourly and annual equations:
- Hourly Wage: If you are paid hourly and miss a certain number of hours, you simply calculate the number of hours by the amount you were supposed to earn. Say you miss 5 days of work and you earn $15 an hour. Your calculation will look like this: 15 x (8 hours x 5 days) = $600 total
- Annual Salary: If you earn an annual salary, divide your yearly salary by the number of weekday work hours in a week (2080). Then, multiply by the number of hours of work your injuries caused you to miss. Say you missed 5 days of work. Your calculation will look like this: ($60,000 / 2080) x (8 hours x 5 days) = $1,153.85 total
An experienced attorney will consider all possible losses of income. Options include:
- Frequent overtime
- Promotional opportunities
- Potential income increase
- Lost sales commissions
- Lost bonus opportunities
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Lost Wages vs. Lost Earning Capacity
While they may sound similar, filing for Lost Earning Capacity instead of Lost Wages could end up being a time-consuming mistake if you don’t start with all the right information.
What are Lost Wages?
Lost wages are very commonly included in the award of money damages through a settlement or trial. This is the compensation you would have earned from your employer, had you not been injured in an accident. They refer to the income you would have earned during the period of time in which you were unable to work. They do not contribute to financial consequences you may suffer if you are permanently affected by your accident.
What is Lost Earning Capacity?
Also known as “Future Loss of Earnings” or “Impairment of Earning Power,” Lost Earning Capacity refers to a decrease in ability to earn income. For example, if you permanently injured your knee, it may affect your ability to perform if your profession requires you to stay on your feet for long periods of time.
Who Covers Lost Wages?
Lost wages are covered by one of three options:
- Your Insurance Company
- The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company
- A Personal Injury Lawsuit — In serious cases, you have the option to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In instances such as these, the Jury will be asked to make the at-fault driver compensate you for your lost wages and for any impairment to your ability to earn future wages.
Important: It is highly recommended that you wait until the end of your medical treatment before pursuing a claim or filing a lawsuit. This way, your claim will include all of your medical records and you won’t miss out on compensation for unexpected complications.
How to Prove Lost Wages
Proving your lost wages is likely the last thing you want to do after all you’ve endured, which is why it’s helpful to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side. Your lawyer will help you collect the necessary information to stand up for your right to fair compensation. You will need three primary pieces of documentation:
- Doctor Confirmation: In order to fully prove that you sustained physical injuries that prevented you from working, a doctor will have to confirm your account with documentation. A note from a doctor (or a disability slip) will confirm how many days were recommended that you take off work.
- Wage Documentation: This one’s obvious. In order to be compensated fairly, you must present proof of compensation. Your wage documentation, or a pay stub, is the easiest way to provide evidence of income. For those who are self-employed, tax returns and invoices are a suitable option. Consult with your attorney to determine the best type of documentation for your situation.
- Employer Letter: The final step toward documenting your absence is to confirm which days you were absent from your employer. This letter also confirms your regular hours and the amount you earn.
Have a Car Accident Lawyer Review Your Case
There’s nothing easy about recovering from an injury or losing wages after missing work. One small consolation is that, with the right attorney on your side, the law can provide real relief for those who have suffered from a car or big truck accident.