One of the possible damages you can recover in a personal injury case is lost wages. If the accident caused you to miss out on getting paid, the party who hurt you should have to compensate you in your settlement or award. The way the law calculates lost wages you missed work from your personal injury depends on what kind of income you earn.
Common Types of Income in Personal Injury Cases
It is easy to calculate your lost wages if your employer pays a regular salary. Let’s say you were unable to work for two weeks after an accident, and you make $52,000 a year ($1,000 a week). Your lost wages are $2,000.
We multiply the hours you missed by your hourly wages. For example, a person works 20 hours a week and earns $25 an hour. If he was unable to work for a week after an injury, his lost wages are $500 ($25 x 20 hours).
If your income varies from one week or month to the next, we use the average of your earnings. For example, you earned $5,000 a month for six months of the year, $3,000 a month for four months, and $7,000 a month for two months. Your total earnings for the year are $56,000, which is an average of $4,667 a month. If you missed three weeks of work, your lost wages are $3,230.
Sometimes there is a good reason to use a different method instead of averaging. For example, if your profession has a high season during which you make a great deal more money than at other times throughout the year, such as an accountant during tax season, it would be unfair to treat those months as average. The calculations are more complicated in this kind of situation.
Multiple Income Streams
We can use the averaging method for each income stream, then add those averages for a total amount of lost income. For example, if you work a full-time job during the week and a part-time job on the weekend, we add the lost wages from both jobs.
Calculating lost wages for a person who is self-employed can be difficult because taxable income does not necessarily reflect the person’s actual income. There are many business expenses and other deductions available to people who are self-employed, so we have to look at these situations on a case-by-case basis to be successful.
What Counts as Lost Income After an Accident
People typically miss work after an injury from:
- The incident itself, such as an auto accident
- The initial trauma treatment
- Recuperating from the accident until your doctor releases you to return to work
- Ongoing medical care, such as physical therapy to complete your healing after you return to work
You do not have to worry about calculating your lost wages for your settlement. Montero Law Center can take care of all this for our clients. Give us a call at 954-767-6500 today to claim your free consultation and find out what we can do for you.