How To Seek Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Case

How To Seek Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Case

In a personal injury lawsuit, you may be eligible to recover compensation for past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, other economic losses related to your injury, and lost wages. Oftentimes, an injury may force you to take time off work or prevent you from working altogether. Therefore, you may also obtain a financial sum to make amends for the missed income. We will explore the evidence and measures required to prove and retrieve lost wages through this article. 

What Are Lost Wages?

Lost wages refer to the income you would have earned if not for the injury you sustained due to the defendant’s actions. This type of compensation is part of the compensatory damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Compensatory damages cover the financial costs you endured as a result of your accident. The law divides these damages into two categories, general damages, and special damages. Lost wages fall under the special damages category, which consists of tangible and calculable monetary losses. Courts award compensatory damages, including lost wages, in cases of negligence, strict liability, and recklessness. 

What Does the Law View as Lost Wages?

Lost wages apply to all income that you lost because of your injury. A lot of the time, an injury will hinder you from working while you recover. Lost wages include any earnings you would have made if you had been at work. Therefore, this compensation does not simply include your hourly or salary pay. Instead, lost wages can reimburse you for a wide range of modes of payment. Lost wages can recover compensation in the form of: 

  • Hourly or salary pay 
  • Overtime
  • Commissions
  • Bonuses
  • Vacation, personal, or sick leave
  • Tips 
  • Perks like gym memberships or a company cell phone 

Documentation Required to Prove Lost Wages

The documentation necessary to show your lost wages may vary from state to state and depend on the type of income you are attempting to recover. Overall, you will likely need documentation that states how much time you missed on account of your injury and the amount of money you would have made in that time. 

A helpful example of lost wages evidence is a letter from your employer. This letter should have identifying factors such as: 

  • Your name
  • Your position at the company
  • Your pay rate
  • How many hours you typically work 
  • Overtime rate 
  • How many days you missed 
  • What bonuses, tips, or commissions you would have received 

Potential sources for this letter include your supervisor, boss, or human resources department. However, this may prove slightly more complicated if you are not regularly employed. Sporadically employed or self-employed individuals may need to provide: 

  • Prior pay stubs
  • Past income tax returns
  • Billing statements 
  • Customer invoices 

This is not an exhaustive list of resources you can pull from to demonstrate lost wages. Consult a personal injury attorney for the best tips tailored to your specific employment status. An attorney will advise you as to what documentation will fit your circumstances. Furthermore, you can work alongside your attorney to acquire the proper evidence. 

Lost Wages vs. Lost Earning Capacity

Lost wages encompass past income you would have earned if your injury did not prevent you. This compensation pertains to out-of-pocket expenses up until your settlement. Meanwhile, lost earning capacity refers to lost future income. This type of compensation accounts for the victim’s diminished ability to earn money. Usually, lost earning capacity relates to life-altering injuries such as brain damage, paralysis, and amputations. These injuries may inhibit a victim from returning to their job at their previous capacity thus affecting their future wages. Your injuries may force you to forfeit opportunities, promotions, or future employment. 

Proving lost earning capacity is more complex compared to lost wages. Unlike lost wages, you will not have pay stubs, tax returns, etc., that precisely show your missed future income. Instead, you will need to enlist the expertise of medical professionals or forensic accountants. These experts can assess the impact of your injury on your future in the workforce, your career development, and what you may have earned. 

Although lost earning capacity is generally more difficult to demonstrate, an attorney can be of service to you. 

How Much Can I Recover?

There is no absolute guaranteed amount that one may recover in lost wages. Your occupation, the type of accident, your age, your income, the extent of your injuries, and more will factor into the awarded sum. The lost wages incorporated into your settlement or verdict rests upon several elements, so there is no one answer. Furthermore, while most personal injury compensation is not taxable, lost wages may be subject to taxation. Although, states have different rules on this matter. 

A free consultation and case evaluation can shed some light on what you can roughly expect. Therefore, an attorney at The Lake Law Firm would be pleased to speak with you about the possible outcome regarding your lost wages. 

How Our Law Firm Can Help You

Did your injury force you to take time off work or prevent you from returning to your previous position? You may be able to recover compensation in the form of lost wages through a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney at The Lake Law Firm is available to help you seek lost wages and other forms of compensation in your potential claim. 

The Lake Law Firm was founded by Edward J. Lake, Esq., a personal injury lawyer for over 25 years. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to seeking justice on behalf of those who have suffered injury or death due to the negligence of others. Our experienced attorneys handle many different types of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and other defective products. The lawyers in our firm have helped collect millions of dollars for their clients. The Lake Law Firm will advocate for you and your rights. Please contact us for a free confidential case evaluation at (888) 525-3529.