Claiming Compensation for Lost Wages after an Accident Injury

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Claiming Compensation for Lost Wages after an Accident Injury

If you’ve experienced a personal injury, whether a motor vehicle collision or a slip and fall in a store, you probably have many questions about your rights and what claims to make.  At Lebovitz Law Group, we’re on a mission to answer many of the common questions we get asked and to be your resource before and after an accident injury. Today, we want to focus on the question of lost wages.

What are Lost Wages?

In a personal injury claim, lost wages may be considered for any related time that is missed from work, regardless of whether you have paid time off (PTO) benefits.  The amount of time you are required to take off work (due to injuries and pain symptoms, as well as your treatment including travel to and from) is recoverable from the at-fault party.  When you are unable to work at any time during the recovery period, you must keep your employer advised. It is also important for you to obtain disability certificates from the treating physician/facility and to provide a copy of the off-work disability slips both to your employer and your attorney. You should keep a log of the time/days that you miss due to your injuries and treatment, and all medical appointments related to the collision.  

As we mentioned, obtaining disability certificates (off-work excuse slips) from your treating physician/facility is ideal.  Then, your lost wage claim is supported by documentation in your medical records. If your physician supports you taking time off work to rest and heal, please ask for an off-work excuse to give to your employer that states what your work status and/or restrictions are.   

If possible, you should try to schedule your medical appointments around your work schedule to mitigate or reduce your losses.  Insurance companies are always looking for ways to pay less on claims or even deny lost wage claims due to the scheduling of medical appointments during work hours.  At Lebovitz Law Group, we understand life is not perfect, and aggressively advocate for our clients that take time off work to heal and treat for their injuries.

Calculating Lost Wages

Now that we understand what constitutes a lost wage claim, the next important question is how you actually claim compensation for those lost earnings.  In truth, every case is unique, however, here are some general rules for calculating your claim:

  • Hourly Wage – If you are paid hourly, simply multiply the number of hours of work you’ve missed by your hourly rate of pay.  For example, let’s say you miss three full working days (eight hours each day) and on 12 additional days, you missed two hours each day for doctors’ appointments, then the total hours missed = 48 hours (3 days x 8 hours + 12 days x 2 hours).  Next, if you are paid $15 per hour, multiply the hourly rate of pay by the total hours missed. In this example, your lost wage claim would total $720.00 (48 hours missed x $15 per hour).
  • Annual Salary – Although this calculation is slightly different, you are still essentially working out the value of the time you missed as a result of your injuries.  For example, let’s say your salary is $60,000 per year. The average, full-time employee works 40 hours per week or 2,080 hours per year. Therefore, you will divide your yearly salary, in this example $60,000, by the average number of working hours in a year (2,080).  Here, the value of one hour of work = $28.85 ($60,000 yearly salary / 2,080 average working hours). Again, let’s say you miss three full working days (eight hours each day) and on 12 additional days, you missed two hours each day for doctors’ appointments. With the total hours missed at 48 hours (3 days x 8 hours + 12 days x 2 hours), next, multiply the hourly rate of $28.85 and your lost wage claim totals $1,384.80 (48 hours missed x $28.85 per hour).
  • Self-Employed – Those who are self-employed can claim lost income, but this can be a bit more challenging to prove.  One form of evidence to demonstrate your lost income claim is prior tax returns. An experienced attorney and insurance adjuster can use prior tax returns to evaluate historic, self-employed income and derive at an amount for the claim.  Other helpful evidence may include your working diary, invoices across previous months or years, and business contracts (existing or those you had to pass on due to your injuries).

Depending on your employment agreement, you might also be entitled to claim overtime pay, bonuses, sales commissions, and even lost promotional opportunities and/or wage increases.

Regardless of how you earn your living, it’s all about gathering evidence, submitting the right documentation, and making it easy for the insurance company to see how much income you lost as a result of your injuries. The more evidence we have, the more likely the insurance company is to pay the claim.

We have experienced and dedicated staff here at Lebovitz Law Group who can guide you through the process to recovery.  We can provide you with the information and forms that you and your employer need, and advocate on your behalf to ensure the insurance companies pay you the compensation you are entitled to.  

Contact Us Today

If you are unable to work due to an injury that was not your fault, you could be entitled to compensation for your lost wages.  Please get in contact with our fantastic team at Lebovitz Law Group today!

 

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