What does Lost Wages mean?
When you’ve been injured in an accident, the impact often goes beyond physical pain and emotional distress—it can significantly disrupt your financial stability. Lost wages, sometimes referred to as lost income, become a pressing concern, and understanding what they encompass and how to claim them is crucial.
What is included in Lost Wages
Lost wages essentially represent the income you would have earned had you not been incapacitated due to an injury. Lost wages can encompass various other sources of income, such as:
Sick or Vacation Days: If you had to use your accrued sick or vacation days while recovering from your injury, these can be considered part of your lost wages.
Pointers: If you work in the service or hospitality sectors, gratuities can constitute a substantial portion of your earnings. If your injury prevented you from earning tips, they should be factored into your lost wages.
Commissions: Sales professionals who rely on commissions to bolster their income may also include these commissions as part of their lost wages.
What Lost Wages Do NOT Include
While it’s important to understand what lost wages cover, it’s equally crucial to know what they do not include. Typically, lost wages do not account for certain career-related losses, such as:
Missed Promotions: If your injury resulted in missing out on a promotion or career advancement opportunity, this is not typically factored into lost wages.
Potential Bonuses: Similarly, potential bonuses that you might have received had you been able to work are usually not part of the lost wages calculation.
Diminished Future Earnings: Lost wages generally do not account for projections of diminished future earnings due to your injury.
Self-Employed Individuals and Lost Income
For those who are self-employed, quantifying lost income can be a bit different compared to traditional employees who receive regular paychecks. In this case, demonstrating lost income involves showing missed opportunities. This may include potential projects, clients, or sales that you could not pursue due to your injury-related incapacity.
How to Claim Lost Wages
To successfully claim lost wages in an injury case, you’ll need to gather the necessary documentation to substantiate your claim. This typically includes:
Pay Stubs: Documentation of your regular income, such as pay stubs, helps establish your baseline earnings.
Income Tax Documents: Tax-related records can offer a holistic perspective on your earnings, facilitating the computation of your income losses.
Doctor’s Note: A note from your healthcare provider is essential to confirm that your time off work was necessary due to the injuries you sustained.