Lost Wages: What You Need to Know
Lost wages can interfere with a person’s ability to afford medical treatment and other costs after an accident. When you sustain an injury and can’t return to your job or earn your usual income, your finances suffer. You might struggle to pay the bills you receive while treating your injury or have trouble meeting your daily living expenses. Wondering how you will fulfill your financial obligations while recovering from the accident can be overwhelming.
You should know that you have options. You can file an insurance claim and seek a settlement to cover the wages you don’t make while you’re out of work. Whether your injury prevents you from returning to your job entirely or limits some physical or mental functioning, you should receive compensation for the money you can’t earn if someone else was at fault for the incident.
Common Types of Lost Wages
Lost wages are any form of compensation you don’t earn due to your injury. This can include things like:
- Sick and vacation days
- Salary or hourly pay
- Employee benefits
- Pay raises
- Contributions to a retirement plan
It doesn’t matter whether you continue to work after the accident but earn less than you did before or can’t return to your job at all. As long as your injury interferes with your ability to make your regular income, you can pursue a lost wage claim.
Loss of Earning Capacity in an Accident Case
Lost wages are unearned income you’ve missed out on because you took time off work or performed at a limited functioning capacity due to your accident-related injuries. You can also include lost future income when you file an insurance claim.
Loss of earning capacity is the money a person can’t make due to a permanent or disabling injury. For example, you likely wouldn’t be able to continue your job as a construction worker if you lost your leg in a car crash. If you don’t have the experience or education to seek employment elsewhere, you could struggle to find another way to make money.
You could also suffer lost future income if your injury requires ongoing medical care even after settling your insurance claim. For example, chronic pain is a common issue accident victims face. Even if you can return to your current place of employment, you might need to work part-time, transfer to another position, or continue taking days off because of the pain. When you end up earning less income than usual, your financial standing is affected.
How to Calculate Lost Wages
You can calculate your past and future lost wages by taking the total number of hours you missed from work and multiplying it by your hourly pay. You should gather all the documentation related to your income to include as evidence. The insurance company needs to see your total past and future lost wages to determine the compensation you should receive.
The documents you can submit with your claim include:
- Pay stubs to show the difference in earnings before and after the accident
- Past bonus amounts for the work you have done
- Statement from your doctor describing how your injury affects your job abilities
- Previous tax filings
- Employment history and education to determine future job placement if your injury prevents you from staying at your current job
- A copy of your job description to show how the injury affects the physical or mental requirements of the required tasks
- Documentation of incremental pay raises to indicate future raises you will miss out on due to your injury
- Total paid days off after the accident
- Statements from family and friends regarding the impact of the accident on daily life
- Lost wage report created by your employer
Your doctor should provide a written explanation of how your injury impairs your faculties. Although you can’t accurately predict the amount of money you won’t earn in the future, you can estimate the value of future lost wages based on previous paychecks and other compensation you typically make at work.
It’s critical to hire a Dallas personal injury lawyer to represent you in your case. If you attempt to pursue a lost wage claim without the help of an experienced legal team, you could end up with much less compensation than you deserve or no money at all. Your lawyer can calculate an appropriate amount of past and future lost wages and negotiate a settlement with the insurance company on your behalf.
At The Benton Law Firm, we believe in fighting for the rights of accident victims. We will provide the legal representation and guidance you need to hold the at-fault party liable. You can count on us to aggressively seek the maximum possible compensation and try to resolve your case favorably.
We understand your struggles while you’re out of work and recovering from an injury. You will be our top priority while we prepare your claim and pursue a monetary award to compensate you for your lost wages. Our legal team will be your advocate and protect your rights until the end.
If you suffered injuries in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, do not hesitate to call The Benton Law Firm at (214) 777-7777. One of our personal injury lawyers in Dallas, TX, can meet you for a free consultation to discuss the incident and determine whether you’re entitled to compensation.