Posted on Friday, June 23rd, 2023 at 2:20 pm
If you’ve been in an accident resulting in a serious injury, you’re likely grappling with many issues – from medical bills to the stress and pain of recovery. What often compounds these problems is the harsh reality of lost wages. If you cannot work because of your injuries, it’s critical to understand how to calculate these lost wages as part of your personal injury claim. Keep reading to learn more about getting the lost income you deserve and how a personal injury attorney could help.
What Are Lost Wages?
Lost wages represent the earnings you would have made if not for your injury. They include not only missed hours of work or salary but also lost bonuses, missed promotions, vacation time, and sick leave. Furthermore, you could be entitled to compensation for lost earning capacity if you cannot earn the same amount you did before the accident.
How Are Lost Wages Calculated?
Calculating lost wages depends on the type of worker you are:
- Hourly employees – If you’re paid by the hour, multiply the number of hours you’ve missed by your hourly wage.
- Salaried employees – If you receive a salary, divide your annual salary by 2,080 (the typical number of work hours per year) to get your hourly wage. Then, multiply that by the hours missed. Remember to include any overtime you typically earn but missed, lost promotion opportunities, and lost bonus payments, if applicable.
- Self-employed or irregular income workers – If you’re self-employed or have an irregular income, you’ll need to demonstrate a history of earnings to establish an average income, usually by providing tax returns, bank statements, or invoice records.
How Do I Prove Lost Wages in Washington State?
It’s important to note that you must provide proof of your lost wages. An attorney can help you gather the necessary documents and evidence, including the following:
- Pay stubs, tax returns, or business records
- A letter from your employer detailing your regular income, the hours you’ve missed, and any lost opportunities
- Medical records linking missed work to your injuries
- Expert testimony if your injuries have led to diminished earning capacity
What Is Lost Earning Capacity?
In some instances, injuries may affect your ability to earn in the future, also known as a loss of earning capacity. You could be entitled to compensation for this loss if you cannot perform the same job or work the same number of hours due to your injury.
Calculating lost earning capacity is more complex and typically involves expert testimonies regarding your medical condition, future earning potential, and the job market. Insurers and courts will consider several factors when calculating loss of earning capacity, including the following:
- The person’s age, life expectancy, health, and work-life expectancy
- The person’s occupation, experience, skills, and training
- The person’s past earnings
- Any disability or impairment and its severity
What Should I Do After Suffering an Injury?
In the aftermath of an accident, your steps can significantly improve your prognosis and chances of seeking compensation for lost wages and other damages. Here are some essential steps to follow:
- Seek immediate medical attention – Even if your injuries don’t seem severe initially, some symptoms can take time to appear. Immediate medical attention will safeguard your health and serve as crucial evidence in your personal injury case.
- Follow your doctor’s advice – Adhere strictly to your doctor’s treatment plan. Failure to do so may be used against you, potentially reducing your compensation.
- Keep detailed records – Save all medical bills, pay stubs, and correspondence related to your injury. Document days missed from work and any job-related opportunities lost due to your injury.
- Consult a personal injury attorney – Personal injury law can be complex. Consulting an attorney experienced in personal injury cases in Washington State can help you take the proper steps to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.
Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys in Washington State Today
Calculating lost wages in a personal injury case can be complicated and significantly influence your compensation. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is essential for pursuing the total compensation for the financial impact of your injuries.
If you’re dealing with a personal injury case, consult the knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs. We can evaluate your case, help you calculate your lost wages, and seek the compensation you deserve. Having an advocate who understands personal injury law in Washington State can make all the difference in your recovery journey. Call us at [phone number linked=true] or contact us online for a free consultation with our personal injury attorneys.