Common Questions About “Lost Wages”

What Are “Lost Wages?”

A personal injury lawyer in Louisiana can look at your earnings and answer any questions about lost wages.

Lost wages are any funds that you could have earned, if not for your personal injury that prevents you from working. Usually, this term only refers to the money you could have earned between when you were injured and when you’re compensated.

Your lost wages claim can cover a number of possibilities. Maybe you missed work due to medical issues or a hospital stay, or you had to stay home due to your injury. Lost wages also cover work missed due to a mental health crisis caused by the accident, such as PTSD, depression, or anxiety.

Who Will Pay for Lost Wages After a Personal Injury Claim?

Generally, personal injury victims recover lost wages from the responsible party for the accident. The lost wages you recover are only the compensation you receive for missing work. Your claim could include other costs, such as hospital bills, lost earning potential, and more.

How Are Lost Wages Calculated?

Calculating lost wages is generally fairly straightforward. If you’re an hourly employee, you just multiply your hourly wage by the number of hours of work you missed. Salaried workers have a similar equation, after dividing their yearly salary and dividing it by the number of workday hours each year (generally 2,080).

If you’re self-employed, proving lost wages can be more complex. Time away from work can cause lost clients and opportunities, so those costs need to be taken into account. In addition, your salary is likely tightly bound into your full earnings, so your salary may only be part of your lost earnings.

What Is “Lost Income Potential?”

The injuries you’ve suffered as a result of your accident could utterly change your life. If this is the case, you could experience lost earning potential, not only during your recovery, but for the rest of your life. What raises, bonuses, and career paths have you missed because you were seriously injured? While lost wages only account for the losses you’ve experienced between your injury and your compensation, lost earning potential accounts for what could’ve happened, had you not been injured.

Of course, calculating lost income potential damages is much more complex than lost wages. You need an experienced personal injury lawyer to answer your questions about lost wages, help you through the process, and to advocate on your behalf so you recover what you deserve.

Do I Qualify for Workers’ Compensation or Disability?

If a car accident or other personal injury has left you with a disability, you could qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or workers’ compensation. Each of these only apply in specific situations, however:

Depending on the severity of your injury and where it occurred, you may qualify for different lost wages programs.
  • Workers’ Compensation insurance is required for most employers to carry. If your accident happened while you were working, you could qualify for Temporary Total Disability Pay (TTD). Some employers also carry private accident insurance, so you could be eligible for that as well.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance is provided by the U.S. government to help those unable to work due to a disability. However, SSDI has the following requirements:
    • You must have a long-term disability
    • You must have paid into social security long enough to qualify. Social security works with the concept of “credits,” of which usually four are accrued each year. This means that, for most workers, 10 years in the workforce will qualify them for SSDI payments.
    • Your condition must be listed in the Social Security guidelines, or considered permanent by the Social Security Administration.

Even if you qualify for these programs, they might not be enough to cover your damages. If you have additional questions about lost wages, call a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.

How Do I Prove an Injury Caused Lost Wages?

As you pursue compensation for your lost wages, you should be prepared to face challenges from the defendant and their insurance companies. Since insurance companies exist to make money, they’ll try everything they can to avoid paying you for your injuries. One tactic that’s commonly used is claiming your injuries weren’t severe enough for you to take time away from work.

To prove them wrong, you’ll need medical records to demonstrate the severity of your injury, and you’ll want to get your doctor involved. Your doctor can provide a statement that you can use to prove your injury prevents you from working, and make it more likely you’ll receive a lost wages settlement or judgment.

When Should I Call a Lost Wage Lawyer?

A logo for Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys' G Guarantee contingency fee arrangement.

As soon as you can after your injury, call a personal injury lawyer at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys at 888.501.7888 for a free consultation. An experienced lost wages lawyer will talk to you about your injuries, the work you’ve missed, and the other details of your case, and provide advice on how to move forward.

When you hire Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys for your car crash lost wages case or other personal injury claim, you can trust that we’ll do all we can to ensure you get the maximum settlement you’re entitled to. We don’t rest until our clients get what they deserve—that’s why we offer the G Guarantee: we don’t get paid until you do!