Recovering Lost Wages Following a Car Accident
Injuries from a car accident can have an impact on everything. From emotional trauma and property damage to physical injuries, even your paycheck – the aftermath can be devastating. And, suppose that your injuries are so severe that you are forced to miss work. Forced to miss a paycheck. In order to make a full recovery, you must stay home. So, the question quickly becomes: can I get paid for the days that I missed work?
Lost Income Defined
Economic loss, as defined here, is “is a term of tort law which refers to financial loss and damage suffered by a person such as can be seen only on a balance sheet rather than as physical injury to the person or destruction of property.” In other words, lost wages or loss income refers to the money you would have earned at work. Example: say that a car accident left you with a badly broken leg, which is preventing you from going back to work for roughly two months. In a personal injury case, you are entitled to try to recover wages you would have earned had you not missed work.
Insurance companies will need proof of loss income in order to reach a settlement. Therefore, after your injury make sure to obtain necessary evidence to prove an economic loss.
Proving Lost Wages:
- Your W-2 from the last tax year
- A Wage Verification from your Employer
- If you are self-employed, your tax returns or checks you received for services
- Written proof from your medical provider
- Statement from your employer
Calculating Lost Wages After a Car Accident
Determining your lost wages usually means simply adding up the hours that you were away from work and multiplying that number by your hourly rate. You can also claim the following as income lost, if eligible:
- Sick Days
- Vacation Days
- 401k Contributions
Lost Potential Income or Earning Capacity
If your car accident leaves you permanently disabled, then you may be able to claim the loss of future income. This type of claim gets tricky because you are trying to predict your future earning capacity. Proving loss of future income, or earning capacity is difficult because the loss is based on predictions. Plaintiff Magazine recaps a court case pertaining a loss of earning capacity:
“In Connolly v. Pre-Mixed Concrete Co., supra, the plaintiff had been a champion amateur tennis player who planned to turn professional before being injured. Tennis experts testified about her superior athletic prowess and the income she would have likely received during a professional career. The defendant appealed, claiming excessive damages were awarded by the jury, but the Supreme Court affirmed, finding that, even though she had never earned money as a professional, the evidence supported the jury’s determination that the plaintiff lost the ability to do so.”
The first step in determining a future income loss is to consider these factors:
- Earning history
- Talents, skills, education and abilities
- Engage accountants and economists to determine how much the plaintiff would earn today, as well as in the future
- Expert medical witness testimony
- Hire a personal injury attorney to help navigate the law
How an Attorney Can Help You Recover Lost Wages
Attorneys at HS Law are here to help calculate lost wages after a car accident and loss of future income. Calculating these damages can be complicated. HS Law can help navigate the complex legal world and answer questions pertaining to your case. Call HS Law today to speak with an experienced lawyer. Call (404) 400-1175 or click on the contact form to schedule a free consultation.