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Loss of Wages and Compensation in a Personal Injury Case: How Are They Calculated?

gavel and cash moneyWhen people are injured due to the negligence of another entity, whether a person or an organization, they are entitled to receive damage awards for loss of wages and compensation.

Calculating loss of wages

How are loss of wages calculated? Some of it is relatively simple. If you are a salaried employee and an accident that is the fault of another party causes you to lose a week’s work because you are unable to work, the calculation of loss of wages will equate to the wages, or salary, you would have received during that week.

Loss of wages also applies to situations where you may have to miss work to receive treatment or follow-up for your injury. If you need to take off a half-day due to the injury, you are entitled to compensation for that loss of wages as well.

You will need to provide documentation of your wage loss. This is done via a letter from your employer stating what your regular wages are. A doctor’s narrative letter is also often part of the documentation. The doctor’s letter specifies the nature of your injury, why you were unable to work, and when you can return.

If you are self-employed, your lost wages can be calculated from your financial statements and past year’s taxes. Your potential wages can be determined from this financial information. If your business was growing, the percentage increase can also be determined and added to the loss of wages claim.

Calculating compensation

The term “compensation” applies to all other benefits that you would have received had you not been injured. You are entitled to financial damage awards for all the compensation you would have received but lost through injury.

You are entitled, for example, to financial recompense for any sick days or vacation days you were entitled to. If you used them for time off work to have your injury attended to or to recover, you should be compensated for each day. You were not able to use them as sick or vacation time.

Some companies have policies that cause employees to lose vacation or sick time if it is not used, or that require a certain period of work to accrue. If you were off work a sufficient time that you lost sick or vacation days under these policies, you are also entitled to compensation.

Compensation for benefits includes any company holidays or personal days you would have received if you had been working. You are entitled to payment for those days.

Finally, you are eligible for compensation for lost opportunities and events in which you would have participated had you not been injured. A business conference that would have connected you with important clients, for example, can be compensated monetarily.

If you receive an annual bonus but it is reduced by the company for time off work, or you were unable to make sales that would have contributed to your bonus, it is grounds for receiving financial compensation.

Use of a forensic economist or accountant

If calculating wages or compensation is complicated, your attorney may advise a consultation by a forensic economist or accountant. If your injury requires a lengthy period of recovery, for example, your company may move you to another role. If the salary is less, you are entitled to ask for compensation. If you need to look for another line of work due to your injury, you are entitled to compensation for job search activities. A forensic specialist can calculate the amount of damages you are due.

Talk to an attorney about recovering lost wages

Ellis Law Firm has been defending victims of personal injury in California for more than 20 years. We are experienced at seeking aggressive compensation for loss of wages and compensation. If you need to talk to a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles about recovering lost wages and compensation, call us now at 1-800-INJURED. We will be happy to schedule a complimentary consultation at your convenience. We will fight to make sure you receive just compensation for your injuries.

More “calculating lost wages” resources:

  1. National Association of Forensic Economics, http://www.nafe.net/
  2. Forensic Accountant, http://www.acfe.com/career-path-forensic-accountant.aspx