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How to Evaluate Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity

How to Evaluate Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity - Sand Law LLC Minneapolis Saint Paul Minnesota Personal Injury Attorneys

If you’ve suffered a severe injury, such as a spinal cord injury, due to an accident, then there’s a very high likelihood that you can’t work. As a result, you’re probably losing a large portion of your salary. Whether the cause was a truck accident or anything else, you want to know how you’ll be able to recoup those lost wages.

Your first step should be to hire an attorney who can build the strongest case possible on your behalf. That will be your best chance of not only recovering lost wages, but other losses (known as “damages” in legal terms) as well.

Sand Law LLC is ready to provide the help you need to obtain the compensation you deserve. You shouldn’t have to suffer lost wages because of someone else’s negligence. We’ll do everything we can to hold those responsible for your losses accountable. Contact us online or call 651-291-7263 for a free case review.

Here’s some information how lost wages are typically calculated, and how a skilled attorney can help you recover financially while you concentrate on recovering physically.

What’s Covered Under Loss of Earning Capacity?

Before we get too deep into lost wages, it’s important to make a distinction between lost wages and lost earning capacity, also referred to as lost earning potential.

You might have a severe brain injury that simply won’t allow you to perform at as high a level at your job as normal. Even a so-called “mild” brain injury can lead to years of impairment. This could mean that you won’t be able to achieve promotions in the future, or you might lose other opportunities, such as a job with another company that would pay more.

This is what is meant by lost earning capacity. You may be able to obtain compensation that will cover these losses, but you’ll need the help of an experienced attorney. This is a very complex type of damages to prove, but an attorney can help uncover the evidence to help you do just that.

What’s Covered Under Lost Wages?

Let’s say you were in your car and hit by a truck. This is an incredibly dangerous type of accident. So you may have permanent injuries that will affect your ability to work.

Lost wages include far more than the amount of money on your paycheck. There are many others your attorney will take into account when determining how much compensation to demand from the negligent party’s insurance company. Here are a few examples.

  • Hourly pay. This is the easiest type of calculation involving lost wages. You simply multiply the amount you make each hour by the number of hours you work each day. Then, you multiply the number of days you’ve missed from work. If you make $30 an hour and work eight hours a day, that comes out to $240. If you’ve missed 20 days of work, then you’ll have $4,800 in lost wages.
  • Sick days. Remember that your attorney will factor in all of your lost wages. This includes not only sick days, but also vacation days as well. You deserve compensation for these as well.
  • Perks. A lot of jobs come with very attractive perks, such as use of a company car, a smartphone, or a gymnasium membership. These can also be included in your lost wages.

How is Loss of Earning Capacity Calculated?

Going back to lost earning capacity, it’s not as easy to calculate as the examples of lost wages mentioned above. There are a variety of factors that go into determining the value of lost earning capacity. These include the following:

  • The projected trajectory of your career.
  • Your skills, work history and education.
  • The advancement opportunities in your line of work.
  • Any credentials and certifications you’ve earned.
  • Your past record of raises and promotions.

Every case is unique. One person’s earning capacity will be significantly different from that of another person – even when two people are in the same profession. That’s another reason why you’ll need an attorney who knows how to make these kinds of calculations.

How are Lost Wages Proven?

You’ll not only need to provide evidence you weren’t at fault for the accident that caused you to lose wages, you’ll have to prove what you made as well. Say you suffered a slip and fall accident in a grocery store. If you can gather strong evidence to prove the store’s negligence led to the accident, then you’ll have a great chance to obtain compensation.

When it comes to proving your lost wages, examples of proof include W-2 forms from the previous tax year, paystubs, and a wage verification from your employer. Your attorney can help if you believe you’ll have a difficult time coming up with that proof.

What if You’re Self-Employed?

It could be a little more complicated to provide evidence of your wages if you’re self-employed. Some of the different types of documentation you’ll need will be your tax returns, evidence of money you’ve received for the services you provide, and your bank records. For privacy reasons, you should always black out any documents that include bank account or social security numbers.

Next Steps: Should You File for Disability or Unemployment?

You might have been injured at work, in a construction accident or some other event. More than likely, you’re wondering whether you should file an unemployment or disability claim.

The answer is easy when it comes to unemployment. You can’t file. In order to do so, you’d have to show you’re available to work and you’re actively looking for a job. If you’re severely hurt, you won’t be able to do either.

There is, however, a chance that you could file a disability claim. This is another area where an attorney can give you the advice you need to make the right choice.

Why You Should Work With an Attorney

As you can see, proving that you deserve compensation for lost wages can be a fairly complex undertaking. You’ll more than likely be dealing with an insurance company that will do whatever it can to reduce the amount of money you receive – or deny your claim outright.

But if you have a qualified attorney, you won’t have to deal with any of those hassles. Talk to Sand Law LLC to learn more about how we may be able to help. Use our online form or call 651-291-7263 for a free consultation.