If your injury leaves you unable to work, you will be facing lost income and the possibility that you may not be able to pay your bills. You may therefore be entitled to compensation that includes both your lost income and future income, regardless of whether you are a full-time employee, part-time employee, or work on an hourly or salaried basis.
Basic Lost Wages
For this part of your claim, it’s important to emphasize that you are calculating the income you actually lost. As a result, it’s important to carefully track the exact number of days and hours that you miss work, even if it’s just a couple of hours off to go to a doctor’s appointment. This is a straightforward calculation if you are paid on an hourly basis – you simply multiply the number of hours that you missed by your hourly wage. For salaried employees, the calculation is pretty much the same, but you may have to document your claim a little differently.
Many people wind up using their paid vacation or sick leave while they recover. Even though you are paid for those days, you can still claim them as part of your lost income. Those are days off that you earned as part of your compensation package, and you should therefore include these days in calculating your total lost income.
Loss of Future Wages
If your injury leaves you permanently disabled, you may also be able to claim the loss of future income. Here are some examples of when you may be able to claim future income as part of the compensation you are entitled to:
- You are totally disabled and will spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair unable to work at all.
- You suffer permanent nerve damage in your hands, leaving you unable to return to practice as a vascular surgeon.
- Your injuries leave you unable to perform in your prior job, and you can only work on a part-time basis.
In each of these examples, your injury will have a long-term effect on your earning capacity. Just like with the income you have already lost, the person responsible for your accident should also compensate you for the income you will lose in the future.
Calculating future lost income is much more difficult than calculating your past lost income. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you calculate this portion of your claim, and will likely rely upon the expertise of an economist or accountant to help prove your losses.
For some people, calculating their lost income can be quite complicated. Here are some examples where calculating lost income requires some special consideration:
- You are self-employed
- You work on a commission-only basis
- You have “missed opportunities:” you lost income because you were unable to attend client meetings, networking conferences, etc.
It’s important to understand that the party responsible (or their insurance company) is unlikely to any portion of your claim that is unproven or undocumented. Hiring a personal injury attorney to help you prove your claim is often a wise investment.
Slappey & Sadd – Atlanta Personal Injury Attorneys
If you’ve lost income due to an injury suffered in an accident, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve. Founded in 1992, the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have the knowledge and experience you need. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation, call us at 888-474-9616 or contact us online to discuss how we can help with your case.