If an accident injures you and prevents you from working, you may be entitled to receive compensation to cover your lost wages. This compensation applies to salaried employees as well as those using sick time or vacation time while they are absent. This is true even if you are a salaried employee, or if you use sick time or vacation time while you are out.
How Do You Define Lost Wages After An Accident?
The types of lost wages received can vary from case to case and it is job dependent. It may include income, sick days, vacation, a delay in getting a promotion, overtime, profit sharing, bonuses, and loss of future earning capacity.
For Hourly Workers
Sometimes calculating the lost wages for hourly employees can be as simple as multiplying the hours lost by the hourly rate of the employee. But sometimes it is more complicated.
Hourly employees should keep in mind that missing work can also mean missed opportunities. For instance, sometimes poor work attendance can affect promotions, overtime availability, bonuses, and attendance incentives. If an employee can provide evidence that a less senior co-worker received overtime in their absence due to seniority, they may be eligible for compensation.
For Salaries Workers
Even if you are a salaried employee and did not experience a change in your pay during your absence from work due to injuries, you are still eligible for compensation for lost wages. According to Wisconsin law, damages are measured by “lost earning capacity” and not just “lost wages.” Therefore, if your absence from work has affected your ability to earn money in any way, you may have the right to compensation.
Lost Earnings For Self-Employed Workers
Compensation for lost earnings is also available to self-employed workers. You can demonstrate your lost earnings by presenting evidence of unfinished projects or a decrease in the number of new customers. Other times, tax returns can help show a decreased amount of earned income after an accident. While recovering from injury, some self-employed employees must hire someone to work with their customers or clients. If this happens, you may have the right to receive reimbursement for the amount you had to pay someone to do your work while you were absent.
What Do I Need to Document Lost Wages?
The documentation needed will depend on where the victim works. An attorney will begin by connecting with the employer to gain complete information about the lost wages.
The victim should also keep track of all time lost and all lost overtime or additional employment opportunities. This includes the time you miss to attend medical appointments. The court will compare this information with the information provided by Human Resources.
The employee should track future missed opportunities as well. Examples of future lost wages could include:
- if you would have qualified for a larger bonus if you would have been able to work more, or
- if you miss gaining vacation days because you did not work enough hours.
If an accident causes you permanent injury, you may be entitled to compensation for the loss of your future earning capacity. This includes the amount of money you would have earned over the course of your working life if the injury had not occurred.
Keep track of all documentation provided by a doctor stating that you cannot work or outlining work restrictions.
How Can An Attorney Assist In My Lost Wages Claim?
An attorney will work with you to understand your unique case, collect documentation for your lost wages claim and determine the best way to recover lost wages from your accident. If you think you are owed lost earnings after an injury, a Habush Habush & Rottier attorney can help. Contact us today.