How Are My Lost Wages Proven in a Personal Injury Case?

How Are My Lost Wages Proven in a Personal Injury Case?

A personal injury can hurt your quality of life in a variety of ways. For many, it’s not the pain of their injuries or the medical bills that worry them most—it’s the temporary or permanent loss of income. Unfortunately, it’s rare for insurance adjusters to agree to pay out lost wages unless you can prove your financial losses to their satisfaction.

That’s just one reason you want to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer after an accident. Find out how the team at McPhillips Shinbaum can help you after an injury—call us at 1-866-224-8664 to set up a consultation right away.

Recovering Your Lost Wages

After an accident, many victims are most concerned about getting back their lost wages. The majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and even the partial loss of a paycheck can be financially devastating. An unexpected accident that forces you out of work or into light duty can leave your family unable to cover their bills, put food on the table, or take care of other basic expenses.

That’s why it’s so important to document your lost wages thoroughly. While you may need to borrow money from loved ones or put some important expenses on your credit card in the interim, documenting your lost income gives you a chance to get it back from the liable party.

Calculating and Proving Lost Wages

There are several ways to calculate your lost wages, depending on how your pay is structured and how you keep your records. If you are a conventional W2 employee, you are paid hourly or you receive a salary. Keep track of the days you are off of work—they will likely be listed on your paystub or you can request proof on official company letterhead from your work. 

If you are paid hourly, you multiply your hourly wage by the number of hours you work each day, repeating for each day of work you have to miss. Don’t forget to include partial days if you are ever sent home early because of your injury. If you regularly worked overtime prior to your injury, you are also losing out on the opportunity to bring in that extra money—talk to your lawyer about calculating lost overtime income.

If you have an annual salary, the process is fairly similar. You can take your annual salary and divide it by the number of hours you work in a year. If you work a 40-hour week, that amounts to 2,080 hours per year. You can then multiply that number by the number of hours in a standard workday and the number of days missed.

The process is slightly more complicated if you are self-employed, a contractor, or otherwise untraditionally employed. You’ll likely need significantly more documentation to show the income you have lost. If you work with multiple clients, providing proof of projects you turned down and their value is crucial. You may also want to secure written statements from your clients outlining the work they had to divert to other contractors.

Your tax returns are also a valuable source of information. If you can show how much you tend to earn annually, you can extrapolate that to account for the income lost while you were injured. If your work is seasonal in nature, invoices and bank statements may prove how much you lost out on.

What If I’m Permanently Injured?

For those who are catastrophically injured, returning to work may be impossible. When this happens, you may be entitled both to wages you’ve already lost and lost future earning opportunities. This is a far more complex calculation and often requires the insight of a vocational expert. A vocational expert may be able to detail your likely career trajectory, future raises and promotions, and other important factors in calculating lost future income.

Start Your Claim with McPhillips Shinbaum

Don’t wait any longer to start your personal injury claim. With the help of a personal injury lawyer, you can demand compensation for your lost income, medical expenses, and other accident-related losses. The team at McPhillips Shinbaum is ready to fight for you. Schedule your consultation now by calling us at 334-262-1911 or messaging us online.