When you win a personal injury suit, your damages will amount to a total of all losses that you have suffered because of the accident in question. Some of these costs are obvious, including such things as medical treatment and property damage. Your compensation can also cover reimbursement for any income that your injuries have forced you to lose.
This right to income reimbursement applies to:
- Full-time workers
- Part-time workers
- Hourly wage earners
- Salaried individuals
- The self-employed
- Those who work on a regular basis
- Those who work occasionally
Vacation pay and sick leave also count, regardless of whether your employer allowed or expected you to count this pay toward the time you missed from work. The reasoning goes that you might have preferred to use those days and hours at a time of your choosing rather than to cover lost workdays, and therefore, having it applied to your period of recovery is the same as having lost it altogether.
Documenting the Income Lost
To obtain compensation for lost income, it is necessary to chronicle the number of days or hours missed from work as well as the amount of money your injuries prevented you from earning during that time. Your means of amassing this information will differ according to the type of your employment.
If you work for someone else, your employer can provide this documentation in a letter written on a company letterhead. This should include:
- Your name and position
- Your rate of pay
- The number of hours you work on a regular basis
- The number of hours or workdays your injuries caused you to miss
- A history of promotions or bonuses
- Any involvement in special projects that would have affected your income
- Any benefits you may have had to use
If you work on an irregular basis or are self-employed, you will need to find a way of proving the amount of work you lost as well as the income that you would have otherwise realized. Your documentation might include:
- Proof of having sent out fewer bills or invoices
- Memos or letters concerning conferences and meetings you were forced to miss or appointments you could not keep
- A calendar showing every scheduled job that you were forced to cancel
In addition to proving how much work your injuries forced you to miss, anyone who is self-employed or works on an irregular basis will need to demonstrate the correlation between those lost workdays and the amount of income he or she would otherwise have earned. You can do this by showing how much you ordinarily earned before suffering the injury. Proofs of this previously realized income include:
- Bank statements showing payments received from clients
- Tax returns showing the reduction of income during the injured time
It may be helpful to total up the amounts you earn in a normal year and using that to calculate a weekly or monthly average. To that end, your gross adjusted income as shown on your previous year’s 1040 can be helpful, but if you do decide to produce it, be careful to exclude such irrelevant information as your itemized deductions or exemptions. You have no need to show these things, nor should you do so.
In addition, you are also entitled to compensation for lost opportunities to work. These missed chances could range from interviews and job fairs to show business casting calls. Although the loss of potential income can be more difficult to prove in any concrete form, it can still nudge your final compensation amount in a beneficial upward direction.
Lost Wages Versus Other Damages
Although the courts will normally assign a multiplier to medical costs and such non-economic losses as pain and suffering, this will not apply to property damages or lost income. These are instead added on later to the calculated total. Many insurers have abandoned the multiplier altogether in favor of complicated computer algorithms, but in any case, it will not apply to your claim for lost income.
If you have lost income due to injuries suffered in an accident, the services of a personal injury attorney can be of invaluable assistance. The Powerhouse Injury Attorneys fight to obtain for you every cent of compensation to which you are entitled. Don’t settle for less. Call The Powerhouse Injury Attorneys today: 602-265-5555