If you get hurt in a car accident in Missouri, it would be unfair to expect you to suffer if you were not the driver who caused it. By filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver, you can recover the compensation you deserve. That compensation includes the wages that you lost while you recovered from the accident.
Calculating your wage loss can be easy in some cases, but difficult in others. You are also the one responsible for proving the extent of your losses, so it is up to you to gather the supporting documentation.
What are Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Case?
First, though, it is important to distinguish between two different types of legal damages that you can recover in a personal injury case in Missouri:
- Lost wages, and
- Lost earning capacity.
Your lost wages are those that you have already lost due to the accident. Your lost earning capacity is what you will likely lose in the future.
Calculating Wage Loss for Hourly Workers
Totaling your lost wages after an accident is easiest for victims who are paid an hourly wage. You simply add up the hours that you missed and then multiply that number by your hourly pay.
Calculating Lost Salary
The calculation becomes only a little harder when you are paid a yearly salary.
If you are a full-time employee, you would divide your annual salary by 2,080, which is the number of hours you work in a year. You then multiply that number by the number of hours that you missed from work.
Include Additional Types of Payments
Whether you are an hourly worker or you make a salary, you also need to account for other types of payments that you lost, like tips you likely would have earned, commission pay, or overtime.
You would also include other benefits that would have accrued were it not for the accident, like retirement benefits.
Self-Employed Victims Can Recover Business Losses
Lost wages get more complex when you are self-employed, work as a freelancer, or own a business. These victims are entitled to compensation for their lost business. The extent of that financial loss, though, is much more difficult to ascertain. However, if you can show what you were earning at the time of the accident and how much time you could not work while you recovered, that can be used as an indicator of what you lost.
Important Documentation to Support Your Claim
Because it is up to you to prove the extent of your losses, you are the one who has to support your claim for lost wages with evidence. For hourly or salaried workers, this is often satisfied by medical records and a statement by your employer that details your pay rate and how much time you missed. For other victims, though, it can be a more difficult affair that requires prior years’ tax returns, invoices, and bank statements that draw out any expected trends in income.
Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph
The car accident and personal injury lawyers at the Smith Law Office help victims in St. Joseph, Kansas City, Springfield, and the rest of western Missouri recover the compensation they deserve, including their lost wages. Contact them online or call their law office at (816) 875-9373.