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How Are Lost Wages Calculated?

How Are Lost Wages Calculated?

When you are hurt in an accident or other personal injury incident, you may recover compensation for your damages by filing a personal injury claim. Florida’s personal injury laws hold parties legally liable for the financial and pain, and suffering damages caused by their negligence, intentional torts, and other wrongdoing.

“Lost wages” can be recovered as part of your economic damages. Depending on the severity of your injury and other factors, lost wages can make up a substantial portion of your personal injury settlement.

Defining Lost Wages for a Tampa Personal Injury Claim

Lost wages encompass many forms of income and benefits you lose because of your injuries. Examples of income and benefits in a lost wage claim include:

  • Hourly wages
  • Tips
  • Commissions
  • Salary
  • Bonuses
  • Seasonal income
  • Freelance income
  • Part-time income
  • Overtime pay
  • Gig work and independent contractor work

In addition to the above, you can also receive compensation for lost business opportunities, such as missing business meetings with potential clients. If you used vacation time and sick leave while you recover from your injuries, you can receive reimbursement for those amounts.

Benefits you would have earned had you worked can also be included in lost wages. As a result, the paid time off you would have earned and matching retirement funds can also be included in a claim.

How Do You Calculate the Value of Your Lost Wages?

The amount of your lost wages is the total money you would have earned had it not been for your injuries. Therefore, we gather evidence proving what you earned before you were injured, such as pay stubs, income statements, 1099s, W2 statements, and tax returns. We may also ask your employer for a statement explaining the income you would have earned.

The complexity of calculating lost wages depends on the type of income you earn. If you earn a salary, your lost wages equal your salary for the period you were out of work. However, if your income fluctuates, calculating lost wages is a bit trickier.

Generally, we use your median income for several months or a year before your injury to calculate lost wages. The time period used depends on several factors.

Calculating Future Lost Wages and Diminished Earning Capacity

If you sustain a disability or impairment, you could be entitled to additional compensation for future loss of income. The amount depends on factors such as:

  • Your level of impairment (i.e., whether you can perform some work vs. being entirely disabled)
  • The type of work you performed before the injury
  • Your current age and your anticipated retirement age
  • The anticipated inflation rate
  • Your ability to learn a new trade or skill to earn income
  • The future outlook for your job or career

The value of future lost wages equals the amount of money you would have earned if you had been able to return to work. Diminished earning capacity is different.

Your impairment might restrict your ability to work, but not entirely. Therefore, you can earn some income, but not the same level of income you would have earned had you not been injured. Diminished earning capacity represents the amount of money you could have earned had you not sustained an impairment versus the amount of money you can earn given your work restrictions.

Calculating future lost wages and diminished earning capacity is challenging. Experienced Tampa personal injury lawyers work with experts to determine the value of your claim. Financial professionals, economists, vocational experts, medical specialists, and other experts use the factors of your case to calculate the income you would have received without the impairment.

How Does Florida’s Contributory Fault Law Impact Claims for Lost Wages?

Contributory fault does not bar recovery of damages for a personal injury claim except in specific situations. Florida uses a modified comparative negligence standard to apportion damages in a personal injury case, including damages for lost wages.

If you are 51% or more at fault for causing your injuries, you cannot recover any money for your claim. However, if your level of fault is below 51 percent, you can still receive a portion of your damages (adjusted based on your level of fault).

Insurance companies and defense firms try to shift blame to the victim to avoid liability. Be cautious when discussing your claim with an insurance adjuster or other party. Allowing a Tampa personal injury lawyer to handle communications for you is best.

What Is the Deadline for Filing a Claim for Lost Wages in Florida?

Florida modified its statute of limitations for personal injury cases, which include claims for lost wages. Negligence-based claims now have a two-year deadline. The deadline before that date was four years.

However, the deadline has always been two years if your lost wages occurred because of medical malpractice or wrongful death. Cases involving intentional torts and strict liability may still have a four-year statute of limitations.

Calculating the correct statute of limitations for a lost wages claim is crucial. If you do not file a lawsuit before time runs out, you could lose your right to file a claim. A judge could dismiss your case for no reason other than that you missed the filing deadline.Because there are exceptions to the general rules, it is best to speak with a Tampa personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an injury or accident. If you have questions about lost wage claims or other personal injury matters, call a Tampa personal injury lawyer for a free consultation.

Contact a Tampa, FL Personal Injury Lawyer from Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Tampa, FL today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.

We proudly serve Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and its surrounding areas:

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 223-6200

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 493-4418

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 314-5988

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #200, Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 910-5060

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805
(863) 251-6196

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