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How to Calculate Lost Wages in a Car Accident Claim

If you have been injured and missed work as the result of a car accident, you may be able to recover your lost wages. In a car accident claim, lost wages compensate you for the money you would have earned had you not been injured. Read on to find out how to get an estimate on your lost wages by using a lost wages calculator.

Before Calculating Lost Wages

Before calculating your lost wages damages, you'll need to gather supporting documents that prove your medical condition prevents you from working. You should obtain a doctor's note or disability slip telling you how much time to take off from work to recover.

You should also get a copy of your recent paystubs or check showing your wages. Depending on your employment status, you may be required to submit your most recent tax return or W-2s. Finally, get a letter from your employer confirming your employment information.

Calculating the Amount of Lost Wages

Your lost wages calculations will differ depending on whether you are paid an hourly wage or have an annual salary.

If You Are Paid by Hourly Wage:

Take the amount of your hourly wage and multiply it by the number of hours you missed due to the accident. For example, if your hourly wage is $20, and you missed work for three days (8 hours per day), your calculation would be: $20 x (8 hours x 3 days) = $480 (your total lost wages).

If You Are Paid by Annual Salary:

Take your yearly salary and divide it by 2080 (number of weekday work hours in a year), then multiply by the number of hours you missed due to your injuries. For example, if your yearly salary is $40,000, and you missed 3 days of work, your calculation would be: ($40,000 / 2080) x (8 hours x 3 days) = $461.54 (your total lost wages).

Additionally, if there are any overtime payments you regularly make but missed, lost promotion opportunities, lost wage increases, lost sales commissions, or lost bonus payments, you may be able to recover these amounts as well. However, depending on the jurisdiction, certain states will only allow you to recover the net income.

Lost Income for Self-Employed

If you're a freelancer, an independent contractor, or a sole proprietor, you are considered self-employed. In this case, you may claim lost income, instead of lost wages, which refers to the amount of earnings and profits you would have made if you weren't injured.

You may still need to submit documents to show the specific amount of earnings you would have received from the time of the accident to the date of settlement or judgment. You may also be able to submit a 1099 form, correspondence, invoices, profit and loss statements, bank statements, or receipts to show lost income.

Considering Other Losses of Income

You may also claim future income losses, lost earning capacity, and lost compensation. Typically, a personal injury attorney will hire a forensic economist to lay out the foundation for your future income losses. Factors like your age, physical disability, employment history, skills, and education are considered in determining the amount of your future losses.

To calculate the total amount of damages for your car accident case, work through the Damages Estimate Worksheet and make sure you don't overlook any other losses you've suffered.

Have You Lost Wages Due to a Car Accident? Get Legal Help Today

Determining lost wages damages may seem simple at first but it usually involves more than just adding up numbers. It's easy to overlook other factors that can be added to your lost wages claim. An experienced car accident attorney will be able to guide you through the process and ensure that you're fairly compensated.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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Next Steps

Contact a qualified auto accident attorney to make sure your rights are protected.

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