Lost Wages In Personal Injury Cases
If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. Lost wages are a type of economic damage associated with personal injury cases. This means that if the party responsible for your injuries failed to exercise reasonable care and, as a result of their actions or omissions, you were unable to work and lose income, the negligent party may be liable for these economic damages.
What Are Lost Wages?
Lost wages, also known as lost income, refers to the income an individual cannot earn as a direct result of injuries sustained in an accident or due to another party’s negligence. When a person is injured and unable to work, they may lose wages, salary, or other forms of income during their recovery period. In a personal injury claim, lost wages are considered a type of compensatory damage intended to compensate the injured party for the financial losses they have experienced due to their inability to work while recovering from their injuries.
What Types Of Income Can Be Considered As Lost Wages?
Salaries And Hourly Wages
Salaries and hourly wages are the most common forms of income considered in lost wages claims. When a personal injury prevents someone from working their regular job, whether on a salaried or hourly basis, they may be entitled to compensation for the income they would have earned during their absence.
Bonuses And Commissions
Bonuses and commissions may also be considered as lost wages, particularly for individuals whose compensation is significantly influenced by performance-based incentives. If the injury prevents the person from achieving their usual performance levels, they may be entitled to recover compensation for the lost bonuses or commissions.
Self-employed individuals who suffer a personal injury may experience a loss of income due to their inability to work or run their businesses effectively. In such cases, the injured person may be entitled to recover compensation for the lost self-employment income, which could include profits, draws, or dividends that they would have received had they not been injured.
Benefits And Other Forms Of Compensation
In some cases, lost wages may also encompass additional forms of compensation, such as employer-provided benefits or fringe benefits. This could include health insurance, retirement contributions, stock options, and other non-cash benefits that the injured person would have received had they been able to continue working.
An insurance adjuster will also consider compensating you if you used a sick day, vacation day, or paid time off (PTO) due to your injuries. These additional forms of compensation can be factored into the overall calculation of lost wages, ensuring that the injured party receives total compensation for their financial losses.
How To Claim Lost Wages From A Car Accident
To receive compensation for lost wages in a personal injury case, the following must be proven:
Establish that the defendant was negligent or at fault for the accident that caused the injury.
Demonstrate a direct link between the defendant’s negligence and the injuries sustained by the plaintiff.
Inability to work
Provide evidence that the injuries directly resulted in the plaintiff’s inability to perform their job duties. This can be shown with medical records, a doctor’s note, expert testimony, etc.
Duration of lost wages
Establish the specific period during which the plaintiff could not work due to their injuries.
Amount of lost wages
Accurately calculate the total amount of lost wages, which may include salary, bonuses, commissions, and other forms of income.
Present relevant documentation to support the claim for lost wages, such as medical records, employment records, and pay stubs.
Do You Have Lost Wages Due To An Accident?
Calculating Lost Wages
When determining the maximum compensation you are eligible to receive for a lost wages claim, the following factors will be considered:
Time Missed From Work
One of the primary factors in calculating lost wages is the duration of time the injured party cannot work. This includes both short-term absences and long-term disability periods.
A person’s income history, including salary, hourly wage, bonuses, and commissions, is essential in determining the amount of lost wages. This information helps establish the injured party’s usual earnings and accurately reflects their financial losses.
Job Position And Responsibilities
The injured party’s job position and responsibilities can impact the calculation of lost wages. For instance, a promotion or scheduled raise may have been delayed or lost due to injury, which should be considered.
Potential Future Earnings
In some cases, an injury may permanently affect the victim’s ability to work or progress in their career. Estimating potential future earnings is crucial for determining the extent of the financial impact caused by the injury.
Lost Wages FAQs
What is loss or lost wages?
Loss or lost wages refer to the income that an individual cannot earn due to an injury or incident, such as a car accident. This includes wages, salaries, or other earnings that the person would have made during the period of their recovery.
Who pays for lost wages in a car accident?
In a car accident, the party responsible for the accident is typically liable for paying the injured party’s lost wages. This may be paid through their insurance company, depending on the coverage and the terms of the insurance policy.
How do you calculate future lost wages?
To calculate future lost wages, consider factors such as the individual’s current income, age, work history, and the expected duration of their inability to work.
Expert opinions from economists, vocational rehabilitation specialists, or medical professionals can also help determine the appropriate amount for future lost wages.
How do I file for lost wages in Texas?
In Texas, you can file for lost wages by first notifying your insurance company and providing them with the necessary documentation, such as pay stubs, tax returns, and a letter from your employer confirming your income and time off work.
If you’re pursuing compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance, you’ll need to submit a demand letter outlining your lost wages claim and supporting documentation.
Do insurance companies pay for lost wages?
Yes, insurance companies may pay for lost wages depending on the coverage and policy terms. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage can help cover lost wages, regardless of who is at fault. Additionally, the at-fault party’s liability insurance may cover lost wages as part of a claim or settlement.
How do you calculate past lost income?
Loss of wages can be calculated by determining the amount of income the injured person would have earned during the recovery period. This typically includes their base salary, hourly wage, and any overtime or bonuses they would have received. Documentation, such as pay stubs and tax returns, can be used to substantiate the claim.
What's the Difference Between Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity?
Lost wages refer to the actual income a person could not earn due to an injury or incident. In contrast, loss of earning capacity refers to the reduction in a person’s ability to earn income in the future due to injury.
Loss of earning capacity considers factors such as the injured person’s age, work history, and the impact of the injury on their ability to work in their chosen field.
What's Covered Under Lost Wages?
Lost wages typically cover the income that an individual would have earned during their recovery period, including base salary or hourly wages, overtime, bonuses, and other forms of compensation.
Lost earnings can also include self-employment income, commissions, and other sources of earnings that are affected by the injury or incident.
Documenting Lost Income
It’s essential to provide supporting evidence and documentation for your lost wages claim. The following items are often used when negotiating with the insurance company as well as in court:
Pay Stubs And Tax Returns
Providing accurate documentation is essential for substantiating lost wage claims. Pay stubs and tax returns help establish a clear record of the injured party’s earnings before the injury, making it easier to calculate their lost wages.
Depending on how you’re compensated, you might also need to provide other supporting documents such as bank statements, business records that document how many sick days or vacation days were used, receipts, invoices, etc.
Medical Records And Doctor's Notes
Medical records and doctor’s notes serve as evidence of the injury and the resulting limitations on the victim’s ability to work. These documents help demonstrate the direct link between the injury and the lost wages.
Expert Witness Testimony
In some cases, expert witness testimony may be necessary to support a lost wage claim. Vocational and economic experts can provide valuable insights into the injured party’s lost earning capacity and help accurately calculate their future lost wages.
Consideration Of Future Lost Wages And Loss Of Earning Capacity
In situations where an injury results in long-term or permanent disability, it’s essential to consider future lost wages and lost earning capacity. This calculation considers the injured party’s potential earnings over their work-life expectancy and any limitations the injury has imposed on their ability to work.
Accurately estimating future lost wages helps ensure that the injured party receives fair compensation for their financial losses, both now and in the future.
Contact Allbee Law Firm If You Have Questions About Lost Wages
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and are facing the challenge of recovering lost wages, we encourage you to contact Allbee Law Firm by calling (817) 244-6453.
Our dedicated personal injury attorneys are here to guide you through the legal process, helping you navigate the complexities of lost wage claims and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation, and let us help you on the path to recovery.