Calculating a Lost Wage Claim After a Car Accident Injury
Author: Auger Law | May 30th, 2019
After a car accident, medical bills can be quite expensive, even if you have health insurance. On top of that difficulty, severe injuries may cause you to miss multiple days — or even weeks — of work. In this scenario, you’re not only gathering a large amount of medical debt, but you’re also missing out on the income you would normally use for day-to-day expenses.
If your injuries were caused in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be able to claim the income you’ve lost in addition to medical bills, property damage, and other losses.
However, any insurers have strict policies on who is eligible to claim lost wages based on specific scenarios, making the process difficult for car accident victims. Victims must provide airtight documentation of their exact injuries, missed work hours, and the income they could have expected, and some policies may only reimburse a percentage of the lost income.
An Asheville car accident lawyer can make this process much easier and less stressful for you. Your attorney can provide tailored advice and assemble the strongest available evidence to back up your lost wages claim. During this process, your injury lawyer will consider a lot of important information to determine the right legal strategy for recovering lost wages after your car accident.
Calculating Lost Wages and Income
To calculate lost income, an injury victim needs two figures: the amount of income they have earned since they have been injured, and a projected amount of income they could have earned had they gone to work every day as expected. A lost wage claim, if successful, can then pay the difference (or the nearest difference according to the insurance policy’s rules).
Claiming lost income, therefore, is easiest for those who work steady hours and earn a steady paycheck. If your salary contract or work schedule can demonstrate that you reliably would have worked X amount of hours to earn Y amount of income had you not been hurt, then calculating lost wages can be accomplished rather easily. Even if an insurer or jury does not honor the full amount requested, the victim at least has documented a pattern of earnings that was demonstrably interrupted by their injuries.
However, not everyone works the same hours or earns the same income every month. They may be scheduled erratically. They may depend on tips or commissions. They may be self-employed or an independent contractor, earning what they can when work is available.
In these situations, injured plaintiffs must come up with a near approximation of what they would have earned. If the individual has been working the same job earning about the same income for several years, then tax returns can allow them to determine what their average income might have been. If their earning has been inconsistent, or if they recently underwent a major change that affected their income, then it can be difficult to prove to the court what you should have earned given all of the variables.
Because the calculation for lost wages can get so complex, Asheville, North Carolina car accident attorneys typically caution injury victims not to expect a certain amount, especially if they have not earned consistent income in the past few years. In very serious cases lawyers may secure the testimony of an economist to build a strong case and come up with an accurate estimate for lost wages. An economist can use their expert knowledge of the current labor market and income levels to form an accurate estimate for what the seriously injured plaintiff would have earned had they not been hurt.
Lost Wages Help with a Carolina Car Accident Lawyer
Make no mistake: missing work after a car accident injury leads to an economic loss. Injury victims have the right to pursue compensation for these losses from all at-fault parties. Proving the total amount of losses can be difficult, especially in cases where the victim did not earn consistent income, but asking the right questions of doctors, economists, and accounting experts can help you build a strong case.
Find out how much your possible lost wages claim could be during a free consultation with one of our experienced Asheville car accident lawyers. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation now when you call (855) 559-5741 or contact us online. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are happy to see if we can help you!