What You Need to Know About Calculating Lost Wages

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Last modified on June 3, 2024

When you’ve been injured in an accident someone else caused, your injuries might require you to take time off work to heal. In a personal injury claim or lawsuit, you may be entitled to compensation for the wages you lost while you were off work because of the injury. Your lawyer can determine the value of your lost wages if an injury prevents you from earning your regular income.

Various factors contribute to calculating someone’s lost wages. You should hire a personal injury attorney to help. Although you might think the insurance adjuster is on your side, they aim to avoid a significant payout and save money by reducing or denying claims.

Here, you will find helpful information about lost wages, including the financial factors included in calculating them and how to determine the value of your lost wages.

What Are Lost Wages?

Lost wages are compensation for the income you’re unable to earn due to an accident-related injury. You are entitled to compensation for your lost wages if someone else’s negligence causes your injury, preventing you from working your regular hours or returning to your job entirely. You can also pursue money for unearned pay if you miss work to attend doctor’s appointments.

Factors Used to Determine Lost Wages

Factors commonly used to determine a person’s lost wages after an accident include:

  • Regular wages – Regular wages are money paid for the time someone misses from work due to an injury or illness. That can include salary or hourly pay.
  • Overtime – Overtime is money paid for extra hours worked outside of regular working hours. Compensation might cover the overtime pay you can’t earn due to the accident. However, insurance companies don’t always consider overtime while calculating lost wages.
  • Bonuses – You must prove you receive bonuses from your employer and that they are integral to your wages. You can show paystubs for previous bonus checks or a report from your employer indicating bonuses are part of your employee compensation package.
  • 401(k), medical insurance, and other benefits – You might be unable to contribute to your 401(k) or another retirement plan if you don’t work. You can also miss out on medical benefits. That might result in out-of-pocket health insurance premiums or medical bills.
  • Additional employee perks – You might be able to include other perks your employer provides, such as a company car, gym membership, or phone. You can pursue compensation for those lost perks if you can’t work for an extended period.

How to Calculate Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Case

The formula for calculating lost wages is relatively straightforward. If you’re an hourly employee, you can multiply your hourly pay by the number of hours you could not work due to your injury or illness. You can also include lost overtime pay, sick days, bonuses, and other benefits or perks you usually receive from your employer.

If you receive a salary at your job, multiply the number of hours you don’t work by the number you get after dividing your annual salary by the number of work hours in a year.

For example, if you make $40,000 a year, you would divide it by 2080, the number of yearly work hours, and multiply the result by the total number of hours you didn’t work. You can also calculate bonuses, medical coverage, a company cell phone, and other lost perks and benefits.

What Happens if I’m Self-Employed?

You might be entitled to lost wages even if you’re self-employed. However, determining your lost wages can be a challenging process. You might have to produce your business records, income tax returns, and other statements to prove you didn’t receive your usual wages. You must show the insurance company the estimated figure you would have or could have earned if you didn’t get hurt in the accident.

Contact a Dedicated Personal Injury Lawyer in South Carolina

Being unable to return to your job or make your regular income is devastating. It can lead to financial strain and massive debt if you can’t afford your medical bills and other expenses. However, you might not receive the compensation necessary to cover your costs. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not giving it away. They might deny your lost wage claim or pay much less than you deserve.

At Murphy Crantford Meehan, our South Carolina personal injury attorneys have over 50 years of collective experience representing injured clients. We will protect your rights and fight for the money owed to you.

If you were injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, call Murphy Crantford Meehan at (843) 773-4430 for a free consultation today.

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