When you are injured in a personal injury accident such as a car accident, slip and fall, medical malpractice, or defective product case, you suffer physical, emotional, and financial damages. Pursuant to the Pennsylvania personal injury laws, you are entitled to receive compensation for your injuries from the party responsible for the accident.
Loss of income is one of the financial damages accident survivors can seek. If you miss work due to the accident, you are entitled to receive reimbursement for your lost earnings. However, calculating lost earnings involves several steps.
How Do You Calculate Lost Earnings?
Lost earnings involve three components. To receive full compensation for your actual lost earnings, your attorney must include all three components when calculating lost earnings.
Lost wages describe past and present lost earnings from work that you have missed due to the accident. You calculate your lost wages based on how you are paid. If you are an hourly employee, your lost wages are calculated by multiplying your hourly wage by the number of hours you missed from work.
If you routinely worked overtime, the personal injury attorney will use your past earnings records to establish the average amount of overtime worked to argue you should receive reimbursement for these hours too. Salaried employees multiply their weekly salary by the number of weeks missed (including a partial week) from work.
Lost Future Earnings
Lost future earnings is the amount of money you’ll lose in future income and benefits because of your injuries. It can be difficult to calculate lost future earnings because the amount of lost earnings depends on the length of time it will take you to heal from your injuries. In some cases, accident victims may never be able to return to work; therefore, experts must provide opinions as to how much money the person will lose in future lost wages and benefits.
Factors used to determine the value of future lost wages include your current age; life expectancy; the physical, emotional, and/or mental impairments from the accident; employment history, job skills, educational background, and earnings history. Vocational rehabilitation analysts and economists use this data to determine what you would have earned if you had continued to work. This amount is your anticipated lost future income.
Loss of Earning Capacity
If you can return to work but you are not able to earn the same income as before the accident because of your injuries, you are entitled to compensation for the difference between what you could have earned and what you will actually earn. Loss of earning capacity is calculated using the same factors that calculate future loss of income.
Is Sick Leave & Vacation Pay Included for Loss of Income?
If a person using sick time or vacation pay to take time off for their injuries, they are entitled to recovering the pay received for that time. This is because a person would have been able to use that time for sickness or vacation had they not been in an accident. So, used sick leave and vacation count as a loss of income.
How to Document A Loss of Income
There are two critical things a person must show to claim lost income. First, they must document how much time they missed at work because of the accident. To do this, a person can obtain a letter from their employer that states important information about their employment. This information includes a person’s job title, name, how many hours of work they’ve missed, and their rate of pay.
Next, a person needs to show how much money they might have earned had they not been injured. Copies of pay stubs or invoices are useful documents to show a loss of potential wages. If a person works periodically through contract work, they can use how much they make a year to determine a weekly or monthly income average.
What About Less Obvious Losses?
Sometimes, an accident can cause a person to miss out on unknown opportunities. While proving a loss of potential income can be difficult, it is possible. Working with an attorney might help you compile strong enough evidence that proves your injuries caused you to miss out on an opportunity for income.
Contact an HHR For Help with Loss of Income Damages at (888) 498-3023
Calculating loss of income damages can be complicated. If an attorney does not include all the components of lost earnings or does not consult with experts, the accident victim may not receive full compensation for his or her injuries.
The personal injury attorneys of Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC have extensive experience calculating lost earnings damages and working with industry experts to ensure our clients receive full compensation for their losses. If you have been injured in an accident, contact our off for a free consultation.