Every year, thousands of car accidents occur in the State of California. The victims of these accidents often suffer injuries that take them out of work. A crash victim may need a temporary or permanent hiatus. During your car accident insurance claim or lawsuit, you can seek recovery for lost wages from the defendant. Correctly calculating your lost wages is critical. Otherwise, you may receive less than you and your family will need to cover past and/or future losses of income. You may need an attorney to calculate an accurate lost wage amount on your behalf.
Ask a San Diego Attorney for Assistance
Damage calculations during a car accident case in California can be difficult without assistance from an attorney. The average crash victim will not know how the courts treat these claims or how to assess the value of damages. An attorney can bring years of experience to a client’s crash claim, improving the chances of obtaining maximum compensation for lost wages. Work with a car accident lawyer near you to calculate your lost wages in an accident claim. Your lawyer can help you evaluate your case as well as collect evidence to prove your lost wages.
Add Up Your Current Lost Wages
First, calculate how much your car accident has already made you miss in lost wages. Look back at your pay stubs for an accurate portrayal of what you were making before the auto accident. Calculate your average weekly wages by analyzing your pay stubs and factoring in any other relevant information, such as potential bonuses, sales commissions, special projects or promotions. Once you have your average weekly pre-crash wage, multiply it by the number of hours you missed work due to your car accident or related injuries.
- If you get paid hourly: add up the number of hours you missed at work because of the accident and multiply it by your hourly wage. If you were out for 10 days, for instance, and normally work 8-hour shifts making $15 an hour, multiply 80 hours by $15. Your lost wages would equal $1,200 in this example.
- If you are on salary: divide your total annual salary by the number of weekday work hours in a year. If you work 40 hours per week, this number would be 2,080. Then, multiply this by the number of hours you missed. If your salary is $40,000 in this example, $40,000 divided by 2,080 is $19.23. If you missed 80 hours of work, therefore, your lost wages would equal about $1,538.
You will need to prove your car accident forced you to take time off of work and lose income to obtain fair compensation from an insurance company. You may need proof such as a doctor’s note stating that your accident-related medical condition prevents you from returning to work. You will also need pay stubs or checks proving the amount of your typical wages. An insurance company might also request your most recent W-2(s).
Estimate Future Lost Wages and Benefits
If your car accident gave you such significant injuries that you will be out of work for weeks, months or the foreseeable future, calculate a future lost income amount as well. You have the right to claim future income lost, lost earning capacity and lost employment benefits, if applicable. For an accurate calculation of future lost wages, hire a lawyer and/or a forensic accountant. You will need professionals to take into account the many factors that a lost future capacity to earn award entails: your past income, age, the extent of your disability, your skills, education and more.
It can be easy to overlook sources of income or your losses as a car accident victim. You might forget regular salary increases, promotion opportunities, bonuses, increased costs of living, special job training, occupational therapies and other losses that may play a role in your compensatory award amount. Hiring a car accident lawyer is the most effective way to accurately calculate your lost wages during a civil claim. Your lawyer will use proven equations and worksheets to make sure you are seeking every dime the defendant owes.