After a car accident or event causing personal injury, one of the first items to consider when making a legal claim is calculating lost wages. Insurance companies and lawyers use formulas to calculate this figure in all bodily injury claims, including vehicle crashes and slip-and-fall incidents.
In a personal injury claim, lost wages compensate the injured for the money they would have earned had they not suffered the injury. An experienced attorney will know all the expenditures to consider before offering a settlement amount. Calculating lost earnings and wages is one of the most important steps necessary to determine a fair number.
To help calculate lost wages, an attorney may ask their client to collect supporting documentation that proves an injury is preventing them from working. Documentation may include doctors’ notes prescribing time off work to recover, recent pay stubs, and past tax returns.
Factors to Consider When Calculating Lost Wages
Here are six important considerations when calculating lost wages after an accident:
- Employment benefits. If you used time-off employment benefits like PTO after an injury, include these in your economic loss calculation. In cases where someone is unable to return to work, lost wages calculations may factor in lost insurance benefits, pension benefits, retirement fund benefits, and government-mandated benefits like Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.
- Future lost income. Legal teams and economists in Florida calculate lost earnings based on an average of the injured person’s annual earnings in the years before the incident, generally determined using tax returns. One should also consider any future time needed away from work for ongoing treatment and recovery. Specific demographics, including a person’s age, health, habits, education level, occupation, surroundings, and earnings before and after the injury will be considered in the calculation. This figure may also account for lost financial opportunities because of an accident and injuries, like a job interview.
- Wage growth rates. Wages in most occupations tend to increase over time with inflation rates and technological advances in society as workers become more productive and skilled.
- Lost earning capacity. People who are not in the traditional labor force, but provide unpaid work like caring for other family members may also recover damages from lost earnings in a Florida personal injury case. Similar demographics like those above will also be considered here.
- Occupation-specific earnings estimates. Occupational employment statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports earnings for each state and metropolitan area.
- Lost services. Personal injury settlement amounts may also consider lost services in the form of household duties, including ironing, washing dishes, washing clothes, and cleaning the house.
Accident victims should also take into consideration that an attorney will consider other factors when calculating the total value of the case including non-economic damages (pain and suffering), medical expenses, and economic losses. Economic losses include medical bills, lost income, and other expenditures tied to the injury.
Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help Determine The Value of Your Case
The team at Panter, Panter & Sampedro is here to make sure that our clients understand the legal process at each step of a case’s progression including calculating economic damages. The attorneys at our firm will make sure all aspects of lost wages and earning capacity are calculated meticulously.
At Panter, Panter & Sampedro we are proud to represent our family, friends, and neighbors when they need us most. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation at (305) 662-6178.
Goguen. Calculate Your Personal Injury Settlement Value. Retrieved from: https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/calculator.html
Baum. (April 2017). Computing Economic Damages in Florida Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Cases. Retrieved from: https://www.floridabar.org/the-florida-bar-journal/computing-economic-damages-in-florida-wrongful-death-and-personal-injury-cases/
FindLaw. How to Calculate Lost Wages in a Car Accident Claim. Retrieved from: https://www.findlaw.com/injury/car-accidents/how-to-calculate-lost-wages-in-a-car-accident-claim.html