How Are My Lost Wages Proven in a Personal Injury Case?
In a personal injury compensation claim, the at-fault party or their insurance company is legally liable to pay monetary compensation to the plaintiff, provided their negligence and its connection to the victim’s injuries is established. The damages received by the injured party is broadly divided into two categories:
- Economic Damages: Economic damages are expenses related to injuries that you can easily calculate and assign a fixed numerical value to.
- Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages are mostly the unmeasurable or intangible costs arising out of your injuries, such as pain and suffering.
Insurance companies usually try to protect their business interest by rejecting or diminishing the value of your claim. However, it is mostly easier to prove and recover economic damages as opposed to the non-economic ones.
One among the types of economic damages that personal injury settlements seek to recover, is lost wages. It is important to understand the calculation for lost wages in a personal injury settlement to have a clearer picture of the value of the damages you may be able to recover as your case proceeds.
What Constitutes Lost Wages?
Lost wages refer to the money that you had to forego as you were unable to work because of your injuries in the accident. This is the money you would have earned under normal circumstances but for the unexpected injuries caused by someone else’s negligence that made you miss work. Depending upon the severity of your injuries, you may incur this loss of your earnings for a few days, weeks, or even several months.
In a personal injury settlement, you are legally entitled to seek lost wages for all types of work-related compensation, whether you:
- Are employed regularly or occasionally
- Are a part-time or a full-time employee
- Make an hourly, weekly, or monthly wage or salary
Lost wages also cover these in their ambit:
- Overtime wages
- Vacation and sick leave reimbursement
- Perks and benefits
You will need to provide documentary evidence to the court to prove lost wages. This evidence can be in the form of pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements. The specific documents you may need to place as evidence will depend on the circumstances of your civil liability case, the amount of compensation you are claiming, and the extent of liability of the at-fault party.
You must consult with a skilled personal injury lawyer to identify reasonably strong evidence to back your claim. Your attorney can then guide you appropriately, and help you gather suitable documentation to recover the maximum possible compensation for your lost wages.
What Evidence Do I Need If I Am Self-Employed?
While you can claim lost wages like any other employed individual even if you are self-employed, placing the proof of your earnings might be slightly more complex. You may need to provide business records, income tax returns, or other business-related documents that provide estimated figures of your loss accrued in terms of your earning potential because of your injuries.
Lost Wages vs. Lost Earning Potential
Lost wages and lost earning potential may sound similar, but there is a clear distinction between these two types of economic damages. Lost wages are the money you would have made, if not for your injuries due to the accident. Lost earning potential, on the other hand, is the potential amount of money that you might have made in the future, but for the injuries you sustained in the accident.
You can recover compensation for the lost earning potential provided you are able to successfully demonstrate and establish that your injuries have had a negative impact on your capacity to earn in the future. For instance, if a successful professional athlete loses the use of his legs due to a spine injury, they can seek millions of dollars for the potential loss of money, both as salary and endorsement fees, that they will incur due to the accident.
Calculating Lost Wages
Individuals making an hourly wage can multiply the amount they make per hour by the number of hours they could not work because of their injuries in an accident. They can also factor in overtime pay, sick days where applicable, bonuses, and tips.
For a salaried employee, first, take the yearly salary and divide it by 2080, which is the number of work hours (on weekdays) in a year. Then multiply the result by the number of hours they missed because of their injuries.
Need Help in Recovering Lost Wages in KY?
If you are a victim of an accident, having suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence, the experienced personal injury attorneys at John H. Ruby & Associates can help you recover non-economic and economic damages, including lost wages.
Our attorneys are here to offer all our legal guidance on a contingency fee basis, and fight for fair and full financial compensation for all the expenses and losses you may have sustained due to your injuries. Using our knowledge of personal injury law and our in-depth experience, we can properly evaluate your claim based on all the facts and evidence of your case.
Call our personal injury lawyers at (502) 373-8044 or contact us online for a free initial case.