October 24, 2022
personal injury

An accident can result in more than just injuries and mental distress. You may lose out on pay raises, promotions, and wages if your injuries prevent you from working whether temporarily or permanently. Your injuries may also reduce your ability to progress in your career.

There are many factors to consider when figuring out how much money you are entitled to for your lost wages as part of a settlement or judgment in a personal injury case. A Montgomery personal injury lawyer can determine your past and future lost earnings to ensure you have financial stability as you recover from your injuries.

Why Are Lost Wages Important in a Personal Injury Claim?

The insurance company may try to avoid paying total compensation by minimizing the amount you need to pay for your medical expenses. They may even deny your claim to avoid payment.

Lost wages are essential to a personal injury claim because they represent the income you would have earned if the accident had not occurred. If you’re off work due to your injuries, the insurance company must pay out a certain amount based on how much you would have made in the time you couldn’t work.

Your lost wages play a key role in determining the value of your personal injury claim, so you can get the compensation you deserve.

How Can I Prove My Lost Wages?

Your lawyer may ask you to gather supporting records to determine the value of your lost wages and how your injury prevented you from working. These records may include:

  • Employment verification letter
  • W-2s
  • Past paycheck stubs
  • Doctors’ notes prescribing time off from work
  • Income tax returns

Calculating Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Claim

You must consider several factors to calculate your lost wages for a personal injury claim. These include how long you are out of work and how much you made before the accident. Your lawyer can help you review the wages and benefits you received before you got injured in the accident.

  • Worklife Expectancy

Calculating your future wages often involves using a worklife expectancy model. It estimates the years you would have stayed in the workforce and searched for jobs throughout your lifetime. For instance, your attorney can use the Markov worklife expectancy model with Current Population Survey (CPS) data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to calculate your lost wages.

They can also use the Social Security Normal Retirement Age (NRA) to figure out your worklife expectancy using a fixed data point.

  • Earnings Capacity

Earnings capacity is your ability to earn wages according to your skills, experience, and training. An attorney can look at your past wages to determine your earnings capacity. They may also consider the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics from the BLS to understand and calculate the average wages for your job.

  • Employment Benefits

Lost wages may include lost insurance benefits such as your paid time off and health, dental, and vision insurance. If you contributed to a retirement account and paid towards Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, these benefits factor into your compensation for lost income.

Your attorney can determine the financial value of your employment benefits by examining how much your employer pays to include them as part of your compensation package. They can also look at the national average for your benefits using the BLS’s Employer Costs for Employee Compensation report.

As of June 2022, the average employer cost for mid-range earner benefits is about 8.48% for private industry employees.

  • Inflation and Future Growth Rates

An attorney can use your past earnings to determine how much of your income would have increased in the future. They can rely on historical growth rates using the BLS’s Employment Cost Index to predict future earnings increases. Compared to March 2022, wages and salaries rose by 1.4% by June 2022, according to the BLS.

Your lawyer may also review the following for future earnings growth rates in determining your future lost wages:

An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help Demand a Fair Settlement

If you lose your wages because of an accident, you need the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Vance Law Firm to help you calculate an accurate settlement. Your lawyer can review your documentation and calculate lost wages to ensure you receive fair compensation.

Call The Vance Law Firm today to get started on your claim.

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