Recovering Compensation for Income Lost Due to an Injury
When negligent behavior causes someone to be injured in an accident in Colorado, the injured person may be entitled to recover compensation for various losses, including property damage, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages if they were unable to work because of their injuries.
A lost wages claim typically includes the following losses:
- Lost wages — income lost because someone had to take time off work to recover from injuries sustained during an accident. Lost wages are calculated by multiplying the person’s daily wage by the number of days missed, or if they work a variable schedule, by multiplying the average number of hours worked by the number of days and the hourly pay rate.
- Loss of benefits — in addition to lost wages, an injured person is also entitled to recover compensation for the loss of other job-related benefits, such as sick days or vacation days no longer available because they were used to recover from the accident, or performance bonuses lost because due to their injuries, the employee was no longer able to earn them.
- Diminished earning capacity – If injuries prevent a person from returning to a job held before the accident, he or she may be able to make a claim for diminished earning capacity — the difference between the income they would have earned had the accident not happened and what they will earn because of their injuries.
Making a Lost Wages Claim
To make a claim for lost wages in a personal injury case, you will need to document your loss. This can be done through payroll records, past pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, or a letter from your employer that outlines the following:
- The length of time you were unable to work
- How the absence affected your pay
- Any special projects you might have been working on before your injury that would have affected your pay
- Your history of bonuses or promotions
- Any perks lost due to the injury
- Employee benefits used because of the injury, e.g., annual leave, sick days, and other paid time off.
Because the injured person and the at-fault party are typically in disagreement regarding the value of the earnings lost, economists and other expert witnesses may be required to explain the value of the individual’s lost wages, benefits, and diminished earning capacity. Specific notes from a doctor specifying that time be taken off from work to recover from injuries along with a prognosis regarding the individual’s ability to perform the work they once did can also be helpful.
Recovering Lost Self-Employment Income
Recovering lost wages becomes significantly more complicated when the injured person is self-employed because it can be challenging to prove earnings that are not provided in a regular paycheck. However, income tax returns, estimated tax payment receipts, and business records that demonstrate revenue, profit, and loss can be used to prove a lost wages claim.
Contact an Experienced Colorado Personal Injury Attorney
Were you seriously injured in an automobile accident in Colorado that required you to take significant time off work, leading to lost wages and benefits? Contact personal injury attorney Dan Rosen at (303) 454-8000 or (800) ROSEN-911 to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case.