4 Steps To Calculate Lost Income After A Personal Injury

Anyone injured in an accident or through the negligence of someone else must spend time getting treatment and recovering. This usually means that you lose out on some form of income. How is this loss figured into your settlement or damages award in a personal injury case? Here are a few steps to finding the right number for your claim. 

1. Verify What You Were Scheduled

The easiest way to show lost wages is to start with what you were already scheduled to work in the immediate aftermath of the accident. Ask your employer to provide a statement of what you had been scheduled to work and how they changed that schedule. This clear loss is multiplied by your normal or average hourly rate. You may be able to include standard overtime. 

2. Compare the Recent Past

Employees who work the same shift every week often have little trouble proving their lost income. If you normally work 40 hours consistently every week, you have a strong case if you lost 8, 16, or more hours to your medical needs. Perhaps, though, your schedule varies a little. Account for this by obtaining a record of past work shifts over a month or more. This allows you to determine the average per period and compare it to after the accident. 

3. Note Any Paid Time Off

What about paid time off provided by your employer? Although you were technically paid for this time off, you generally don't have to include it as post-accident earnings. That paid time off — including sick pay or vacation time — was only used because of the actions of the defendant. You have the right to be compensated for using it. 

4. Compare Longer Averages

Does your shift work vary wildly in length? Are you employed seasonally and couldn't take your regular summer gig, for instance? If so, it will be harder to prove that financial loss. You can't simply compare week-to-week averages or look at a current schedule. You may need to compare longer periods of time, including the previous year's income and the current one. Some people use their income tax returns or quarterly financial statements (before deductions). 

Where Can You Start?

The only way to get the compensation you need is to accurately and thoroughly calculate your lost income. A qualified personal injury attorney can help. Make an appointment to meet with a firm in your state today to learn how.