Can I Recover Lost Wages After a Car Accident?

If you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should be fully compensated for the economic consequences. Many people must miss work because of their accident-related injuries, which can make it difficult for them to pay their bills and support their families. Fortunately, Wisconsin law allows you to seek compensation for economic losses related to your claim which may include compensation for past lost wages and loss of future earning capacity.

milwaukee lost wages lawyer

Lost Wages Following a Car Accident

“Lost wages” refers to the money you normally would have earned had you not been injured. The relevant time period is typically from the date of the accident until your doctor allows you to return to work full-time without restriction.  If however, your settlement could include future anticipated losses to your earning potential, which is discussed below.

Through a car accident claim, you may be able to recover compensation for the value of the wages you lost while you were seeking medical treatment or recovering from your injuries. Additionally, you can receive compensation for the benefits you used up because of the accident, such as PTO or sick days.

Your lost wages claim may include:

  • Being unable to work temporarily or permanently
  • Working reduced hours while injured
  • Taking a lower-paying job because your injuries prevent you from performing your regular job duties

Calculating Lost Wages

The process of calculating your lost wages may be simple or complex, depending on your pay structure. A simple process would involve calculating how many hours of work you lost while you were recovering and multiplying that figure by your hourly wage. If you are salaried and you were out of work for two full pay periods, the amount of your lost wage claim would be the amount you would have normally received for your salary for those two pay periods.

More complex calculations may be necessary if your time varied each pay period, you worked multiple jobs, or you are self-employed. Receiving the full amount of your lost wages may depend on having the necessary paperwork to demonstrate your financial losses, as well as working with a Milwaukee car accident lawyer who is experienced with handling these types of claims.

Wisconsin follows what is referred to as the collateral source rule.  Under the collateral source rule, you may be able to collect the full amount of your lost wages even if you were paid while off work due to your Wisconsin car accident.  This may result in a double recovery for an accident victim.  However, the idea behind Wisconsin’s collateral source rule is that the at-fault party should be fully responsible for his or her actions and should not benefit because you were fortunate enough to have insurance or a benevolent employer when you were injured.

Loss of Earning Capacity

In addition to recovering compensation for the amount of lost wages you have already suffered, Wisconsin personal injury law also allows you to recover compensation for your future loss of earning capacity. If you became permanently disabled after the accident or had to take a lower paying job because your injuries prevented you from performing your previous work, you can seek compensation for your diminished earning capacity.

Determining the monetary value of your lost future earnings is complex and often requires proof from your health care provider and a vocational rehabilitation expert. You will need to show what your likely capacity to earn was before the accident and how your injuries negatively impacted your capacity to earn. The value of this type of claim depends on many factors, including:

  • Your age and overall health
  • Your occupation
  • Your history of promotions
  • Your current salary
  • The nature and severity of your injuries
  • Your education and job skills
  • The opinions reached by your treating physician, a vocational expert hired by your attorneys and sometimes the opinions of an economist

Contact Our Firm for Help Seeking Maximum Compensation for Your Lost Wages

If you were injured in a car accident and lost wages because of it, an experienced Milwaukee personal injury attorney can determine what lost wages you may be able to be compensated for. The personal injury lawyers of Mingo & Yankala, S.C. are familiar with Wisconsin laws regarding wage loss compensation and know how to contact and work with the experts necessary to support your case. Contact us today for a free case review.