What You Need to Do to Calculate Lost Wages
Posted on Sunday, May 1st, 2022 at 5:54 pm
When it’s time to make a claim for your losses after an accident that wasn’t your fault, calculating your medical bills is not that hard. You gather up the statements from your doctors and the hospital and add them up. Determining your lost wages can be more difficult. How do you calculate your lost income for the time you were injured? What is needed to prove your claim?
What Are Lost Earnings?
Lost earnings are what attorneys and insurance companies call the financial impact of being unable to work. At the time of an accident, a person has reached a certain lifestyle based on their earning potential. Anything that impacts their earning potential will affect that lifestyle.
For instance, if your accident keeps you from working for six months, all the household bills that you normally pay with your paycheck must be deferred. Any activities you normally engage in must be skipped. Important expenses might not get covered. The economic and psychological stress can be immense.
If your injury leaves you permanently disabled or unable to work at your previous job, you may be able to claim loss of future earnings as well as compensation for wages you’ve already lost. “Future earnings’ are the wages you would make should you continue working as you did before the injury. Future earnings are based on the theory that most people plan to improve in their careers. They should be paid more in five years than they are today.
Loss of future earnings lets you claim this higher pay rate if your injury will prevent you from returning to work or will keep you from realizing any future advancement at work.
Calculating Lost Wages
Calculating your lost current and immediate future wages is fairly simple. If you are paid hourly, you simply tabulate the number of hours you lost due to the injury and rehabilitation and multiply that sum by your hourly rate. To prove your pay rate, you will need to provide copies of your paycheck stubs or a copy of your last W-2 form.
If you were entitled to any vacation pay during that period or commissions for sales, you should include that in your lost wage calculations, as well. You can estimate this by showing your average commissions in the previous pay period and requesting a similar sum.
Salaried individuals can do the same thing with their annual salary. Divide the annual pay by 52 weeks for a weekly rate, and then multiply by the number of weeks you missed due to the injury.
Calculating Future Wages
Estimating your future wages can be a little trickier. There are a few things that your future earnings are based on:
- Your current occupation and position in the company will act as the base for the calculation.
- The skill level required for your current position and the level of training or education needed to advance.
- Your past earnings and job performance.
- Your life expectancy based on your present physical condition.
There are actuarial tables used by insurance companies that can estimate life expectancy, and these can be helpful in calculating your potential lost future wages.
What Else Do I Need?
To prove your lost current and future wages, you will need to provide evidence of your pay rate and the amount of time lost from your job. You can ask your employer to write a supporting letter that describes your job position, your regular and overtime hours, and any other important details. Your attorney can explain what needs to be in this letter.
If you are self-employed, you can still claim a loss of income. You will need to show the amount of income you could normally make in a month or quarter and demonstrate why you were unable to work during the period you were injured. Supportive affidavits from regular clients can be of assistance in proving your regular income.
How We Can Help
If you’ve been injured due to another party’s carelessness or negligence and are unable to work, you need skilled legal assistance to help get the compensation you need. At Portner Bond, PLLC, we want you to concentrate on getting well, not figuring out how your bills are going to get paid.
Our attorneys know how to determine your lost income and what documentation is needed to prove your claim to the insurance company. If any additional material is needed, we can help you obtain it from your employer or other sources.
Call the Beaumont personal injury lawyers of Portner Bond, PLLC at (409) 838-4444 for a free and confidential consultation about your case today. We can help you recover the compensation you need and give you the peace of mind you deserve.