If you are injured in an accident, and unable to work, you may be entitled to compensation to make up for your lost wages. 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 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.
LOST WAGES 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, and bonuses and attendance incentives. In situations where overtime was awarded via seniority, employees may be able to receive compensation if they can demonstrate that a less-senior co-worker benefitted from their absence.
LOST WAGES FOR SALARIED WORKERS
If you are paid a salary, you are still entitled to compensation for lost wages – even if the amount of your paycheck did not change while you missed work from your injuries. The law in Wisconsin tells us that the proper measure of damages is ‘lost earning capacity’ – not just ‘lost wages’. Therefore, if missing work influenced your ability to earn in some way, you may be entitled to compensation.
LOST EARNINGS FOR SELF-EMPLOYED WORKERS
Self-employed workers are also entitled to compensation for lost earnings. Demonstrating the lost earnings can be done by showing jobs that couldn’t be completed, or a decrease in new customers you were able to take. Other times, tax returns can help show a decreased amount of earned income after an accident. Some self-employed workers have to hire someone else to work with their customers or clients while they are recovering from injuries. If that happens, you may be entitled to reimbursement for what you had to pay someone to do your work while you were out.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO DOCUMENT LOST WAGES?
The needed documentation 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, as well as all lost overtime or additional employment opportunities. This includes the time you miss to attend medical appointments. This information will be compared with the information provided by Human Resources.
Future missed opportunities should be tracked by the employee 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 you suffer a permanent injury related to your accident, you may be entitled to damages for your lost future earning capacity. In other words, the amount you would have earned over your future years of working if you had not been injured.
Keep track of all documentation provided by a doctor stating that you cannot work or outlining the 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.