After an accident, your injuries can cause many problems in your life. One common issue that many people face is taking time off of work for things like getting treatment or to heal after an accident. This often means you earn less than you would have without the accident. In these cases, your personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation for these lost wages. In this article, we’ll provide you with some general information to know about lost wage claims after an accident.
When to Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help in many different cases. If you were injured due to another party’s negligence, then your lawyer can help you seek compensation from them for everything from your medical expenses and property damage to lost wages and lost earning capacity. Car accidents are some of the most common types of personal injury cases where you may need an attorney. These cases typically involve filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company and seeking compensation from them. Often, you must speak to the assigned insurance adjuster to come to a fair settlement. Otherwise, you may need to file a lawsuit and go to court to get the compensation you need.
Of course, your injury attorney can help with many other types of cases, such as workplace accidents, slip and fall accidents, dog bites, and medical malpractice. Generally speaking, any time you have a complex case, it helps to have a lawyer on your side to help guide you through the process, provide legal advice, and fight for your case.
How Does My Personal Injury Lawyer Calculate the Value of My Case?
The value of your case depends on many different factors. The best way to get a fair valuation for your case is to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer about the particulars of the accident and the aftermath. For instance, the value of your case may depend heavily on the types of injuries you got from the accident.
Generally speaking, your attorney will look at several different categories, known as damages, to calculate the value of your case. These include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Punitive damages
Your personal injury lawyer then uses the information from each of these categories to put a value on your claim. This helps as you seek compensation from the other party and negotiate for a fair settlement amount.
Talk to your Personal Injury Lawyer About Lost Wages
Lost wages are commonly involved in accident cases. Often, you will need time off of work to heal from your injuries and to go to medical appointments. Therefore, it’s important to consider how lost wages or income affects your personal injury case. There are several ways your attorney can calculate lost wages for your case, whether from a car accident injury or a workplace accident.
How Your Personal Injury Lawyer Calculates Lost Hourly Wages
Calculating lost wages if you primarily get an hourly wage is typically a straightforward process. As long as you know what you make per hour and the number of hours you missed from work, then your attorney can calculate the amount of income damages to request. For instance, let’s say you work full time and make $20 per hour and you missed one week of work total due to your injuries. Based on the average work week of 40 hours, this would mean you lost $800 due to your accident. You can request compensation for this amount in your demand letter to the negligent party or their insurance company.
Keep in mind that you can still seek compensation even if you use paid time off for the time you take off of work. Paid time off for sick leave or vacation time is still part of your compensation package, and using it for your accident-related injuries means that you can’t use it for another situation. Therefore, you’re typically still entitled to compensation for that time off as part of your lost wages claim. Keep track of any and all time you take off work related to your accident and your injury attorney can help you determine whether you can seek compensation for it or not.
Determining Lost Wages from an Annual Salary
In other cases, you may earn an annual salary instead of an hourly wage. Your personal injury lawyer can help you calculate lost wages for this situation as well. Once again, each situation is unique, so you should schedule a consultation with an attorney based on your specific circumstances. However, usually the formula is simple. You take your annual salary and divide it by the total work hours in a year (2,080). This gives you an hourly amount that you can use to calculate how much you lost in wages per hour of missed work. As an example, let’s say you make $40,000 per year and missed one week of work after your accident. Assuming you work full-time, this would be roughly $769 in lost wages for your case.
Discuss Lost Wages with Your Personal Injury Lawyer if You’re Self-Employed
If you’re self-employed, a lost wage claim can be a little more complicated. You can absolutely still seek compensation for lost income if you’re self-employed, it just may require more documentation and calculations from your personal injury lawyer. Many self-employed people have a lot of variability in their income from month to month or even year to year. Calculating lost wages as a self-employed accident victim means looking at records to determine how much you likely would have made if you weren’t injured in the accident. Your lawyer may rely on a variety of documents to calculate this amount, including past tax records, accounting records, or even communications between you and your customers if they show a lost contract or lost good will between you and your clients.
Don’t Forget Other Types of Income!
Of course, many people also have other sources of income throughout the year. For instance, commissions from sales completed or bonuses for excellent work performance. Sometimes missed work and lower productivity due to your accident-related injuries can cause you to lose out on these types of income as well. Therefore, it’s important to consider all the different potential losses when determining the value of your case. You may have even missed out on a promotion due to time away from your position. If you can document that you were on track to receive these types of income and that you lost them due to your accident, then they may also be fair game for your claim.
Things to Provide to Your Personal Injury Lawyer for Lost Wages
After an accident, you will need documentation for your case. When it comes to lost wages, there are many types of documents that can serve as evidence. First and foremost, you need records stating why you took off work. Just because you were in a car accident doesn’t mean you can simply take weeks of work and have the at-fault driver pay you for that time off. You will need a doctor’s note or a note in your medical records showing that your doctor recommended you take time away from work. You will also need records to show that you had medical appointments if those were the reasons you took off work.
In addition, you may need documentation to provide proof of the income you’re asking for. This might include paystubs, W2s, 1099 forms, or other documents that back your claim for compensation. Your attorney can help you gather this information to build a strong case after an accident-related injury.
Get Help from The Law Office of Daniel D. Horowitz, III PC – Houston Car Accident Attorney
After an accident, choose an experienced attorney for your case. As a leading, board-certified personal injury attorney, Daniel D. Horowitz, III PC offers years of experience and a track record of success for our clients. Whether you need a Houston car accident attorney, truck accident attorney, or workplace accident attorney, we offer legal services to help you. Get in touch now to schedule a free consultation!