Can I Recover Wages I Lost After a Trucking Accident?
When you are involved in a serious trucking accident, it is very likely that you will miss some work due to your injuries. The amount of work missed generally depends on the severity of your injuries and the physical requirements of your job. In the most severe cases, you may not be able to return to your previous occupation at all.
What Are Lost Wages?
In the simplest terms, lost wages are any wages you did not or cannot earn due to your injury. Lost wages are not limited to those you have already missed out on, but can also refer to wages you will miss out on in the future.
Typically, lost wages are broken down into three categories:
- Lost wages – wages you lost during a period you were unable to work.
- Loss of earning capacity – if you have sustained a long-term disability from an accident and cannot make as much money as you did before your accident.
- Lost opportunities – this would include things like missing a job interview while you were recovering.
An important thing to remember is that if you lost your previous job due to your injuries and returned to work for lower pay, you may be entitled to the difference in pay between your previous job and the job you now hold.
How Much Lost Income Can I Recover?
As a victim of a trucking accident, you are entitled to reimbursement for any income you have lost because of the accident and your resulting injuries. Many people believe they must have been out of work for an extended period in order to recover lost wages – this is not true. If you missed even an hour of work due to hospital visits, treatment, or surgery, you have the right to be reimbursed.
Another important note is that lost income applies to all workers, not just full-time employees or salaried workers. If you are a part-time worker, hourly employee, or even self-employed, as long as you can document the wages you have lost, you can make a full recovery.
Aside from basic wage calculations (how much direct pay you lost), you are also able to claim:
- Money that reflects a promotion or wage increase provided you were due for a wage increase or promotion while out of work.
- Loss of commissions on sales.
- Bonuses that you were paid in the past and were on track to receive prior to your injury.
- Loss of fringe benefits.
- Loss of pension benefits.
What If I Avoid Losing Wages By Using Vacation and Sick Leave?
The fact that you were able to use sick leave or vacation pay to avoid losing income has no bearing on your claim. Using sick leave or vacation pay due to an accident or injury is considered the same as losing pay itself.
Therefore, you are able to be reimbursed for the sick leave or vacation pay provided you can show:
- You missed work because of the accident.
- You have documentation showing the use of sick leave or vacation during that time period.
In addition, if you work in a commission based industry, you can still claim wages that would have result from commission on sales you missed while you were out of office. Remember, you were not “on vacation”, you were out of work to recover from an accident.
How Do I Prove the Wages I Lost After a Trucking Accident?
In order to prove loss of income, you will want to gather the appropriate documentation to support your claim. You attorney will go into more detail, but generally you will want to start by:
- Getting a letter from your employer indicating how much time you took off.
- A paycheck stub or W-2 that can be used to calculate hourly rate of pay or your monthly salary.
- Documentation from your employer showing how many hours a week you work.
- Documentation from your employer indicating whether you are qualified to receive overtime pay and whether or not you typically work overtime.
Once that information is collected, you can begin calculating a rough estimate of your lost wages by:
- Determine the number of hours you missed from work. If your hours vary from week to week, calculate the average based on your last two to three weeks of work.
- Determine the number of overtime hours you missed.
- Multiply the number of hours you missed by your hourly rate or estimated hourly rate.
- Multiply any overtime hours by 1.5 your hourly rate or estimated hourly rate.
- Add the values for regular hours missed to the overtime hours you missed.
If you are salaried, you can work out your lost wages by:
- Divide your annual salary by the number of hours you work (hours a full time employee works per year: 2,080) in order to get the amount you earn per hour.
- Calculate the number of hours you missed by multiplying the days you were out of work by 8 (typical work days for salaried employees 8 hours – even if you actually work more).
- Multiply those two figures to calculate your lost wages.
Tips, commissions, bonuses and other items can be added to the base amount of loss wages.
What if I Have More Questions About Wages Lost After a Trucking Accident?
If you have any questions about the wages you have lost or need help calculating just how much you are entitled to, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our attorneys can provide a free consultation so you better understand the laws surrounding your case and your best course of action. If your injuries prevent you from visiting our offices, we will send one of our attorneys to you.
Thomas J. Henry has been successfully resolving trucking accident claims for more than 25 years. We have the experience and resources to take on even the largest commercial trucking and insurance companies. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends – attorneys are standing by.