When you file a personal injury lawsuit against someone who has caused you harm, you’re required to show that actual damages have occurred for which you can be financially compensated. These damages typically include the costs of medical bills, rehabilitation or physical therapy; repair or replacement of damaged property (such as your car, after an automobile accident); and compensation for your pain and suffering, too.
Also, you are able to seek compensation for any lost income that resulted from the accident. Here’s what you should know about making a lost income or wages claim after an accident, and how to get legal help with your case.
What Is Included in a Lost Wages Claim?
There are several components to consider in a lost wages damages claim. In its most basic form, this includes compensation for any time that you spent away from work due to your injury, and the money you would have been able to earn if you hadn’t been hurt. This may also include vacation or sick time accrual that you would have received—or days that you had already accrued and had to spend.
Lost wages may also include any bonuses or commissions that you would have been able to receive, and it can even include missed opportunities for promotion or raises, too. If you would have worked overtime during that period, you can seek compensation for that time, as well.
Your claim for lost wages is not dependent on whether you work full-time, part-time, are salaried, hourly, or are self-employed, though you may find the documentation easier if you are employed by someone else. A letter from your company may be all that you need, detailing information such as:
- What your position is or was at the company.
- Your regular working hours.
- Your salary or hourly wage.
- How much time you missed.
Your lawyer will be able to tell you exactly what this letter should include—as well as what may not be necessary, such as how much vacation or sick time you used.
If you’re self-employed, providing these details falls more onto your own shoulders, but isn’t an insurmountable obstacle. You may use canceled or missed appointments or meetings from your calendar as evidence, or show that you had fewer or no invoices or billing activity while you were injured and recovering. It may also be possible to use your previous year’s income tax return as evidence of your annual earnings and use it as a basis for showing what your income should have been if you hadn’t been hurt, and use it to come up with an average weekly or monthly income.
Lost Earning Capacity
You may also be able to make a claim not just for lost wages from your injury in the past, but for future lost wages. This is called a loss of earning capacity or diminished earning capacity. The calculations for this can be complicated, but may take into account multiple factors, including the following:
- Your occupation.
- The level of skill required for your job.
- Market rates or values for your position or wage.
- Your past earnings.
- Your life expectancy.
Since lost earning capacity is very dependent on the specifics of your own situation, your attorney will be able to help you determine whether you’re eligible for a lost earning capacity claim, and if so, what you need to do in order to prove it in court.
Legal Help for Lost Wages After an Accident
If you’ve suffered from a severe accident due to negligence, carelessness, or recklessness, Wayne Wright LLP would like to hear from you today. We believe in standing up for the legal rights of those who have been hurt, and we’re here to help you seek the compensation that you’re owed in a court of law, even if you may be partially at fault.
To get help from an experienced legal professional, call us by phone, use our contact form to send an email message, or click the live chat box on this page right now and arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with us today.