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Can I Claim Lost Wages From a Car Accident?

December 19, 2022

Victims of serious auto wrecks are often unable to work due to the painful and debilitating nature of their injuries, making it crucial to claim lost wages from a car accident. For most people, unexpected time away from work  – and missing paychecks – can be more than a nuisance; it can put their well-being and financial futures in jeopardy. Not only do accident victims need to ensure that their daily living expenses are covered, but also the bills related to their treatments and hospital visits.

If your injury has prevented you from working and earning a wage, you deserve compensation from the party or parties responsible for your losses.

The Chicago car accident lawyers at Coplan + Crane are passionate about helping accident victims move forward after a wreck. We understand the many challenges faced by the wrongfully injured – including high medical bills and lost wages. If you were hurt because of someone else’s negligence, we will fight to recover the maximum compensation to which you are entitled under the law.

Common Types of Lost Wages From a Car Accident in Chicago

Lost wages in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit can cover many different areas, including:

  • Lost income due to taking off time from work due to accident-related injuries
  • Used sick days, vacation, or paid leave because of injuries. For example, if you were forced to take five sick days off from work because of your injuries, you deserve to be compensated for the use of this time.
  • Lost earning potential due to your injuries. If your injuries prevent you from performing the tasks you performed prior to the injury, and you are forced to take a lower-paying job – or cannot work at all – because of the wreck, then you should be compensated for the losses you incur.
  • Lost financial support from a family member killed in a wreck. If a spouse, parent, or another family member who supported you perished in a crash, you deserve compensation for a lifetime of lost income and benefits.

How Do You Determine the Value of Lost Wages?

To determine your lost wages, your lawyer (and perhaps a financial professional) will evaluate your current income:

  • For hourly employees: Lost income can often be calculated by multiplying your hourly rate by the average number of hours you work weekly.
  • For salaried employees: The average full-time worker works 40 hours per work week and 52 weeks a year, for a total of 2,080 hours worked annually. Lost income damages for salaried employees can generally be determined by dividing your yearly salary by 2,080 and multiplying that number by the number of hours of work you missed.

If your injuries prevent you from ever working again, you should be compensated for the lost wages you would have earned over the course of a lifetime had the accident not occurred.

Determining the full value of lost wages can be extremely complex, requiring the knowledge and skill of an experienced attorney. At Coplan + Crane, our lawyers have substantial experience calculating personal injury claims. We know how important it is to account for the wages you have already lost as well as the income you will lose in the future.

Factors That Affect Lost Income Damages

Several factors must be considered when determining the damages you deserve for an accident or injury claim. This is especially true when calculating lost income or diminished earning potential. These factors include:

  • Physical or mental impairments before and after the accident
  • Your employment history and educational background
  • How many years before you were expected to retire
  • Your job skills and training
  • W-2s, paystubs, and your earnings history
  • Your economic lifestyle

An experienced lawyer will ensure that all pertinent factors are considered when determining the value of your claim. It is in your best interest to contact an attorney right away.

What Evidence Do You Need To Prove Lost Wages?

In order to recover lost wages from a car accident, you must prove the full value of your lost income. This requires evidence such as:

  • Paystubs
  • Tax returns
  • Bank records
  • Employment contracts

It can be more difficult to prove how your earning capacity was diminished due to the crash. Depending on the details of your case, a financial expert may be needed to assess the impact on your lost future earnings.

Call a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer for FREE

If you suffered lost wages from a car accident, you may be frightened, confused, and unsure of where to turn. We know the legal process can be intimidating. When you work with the experienced attorneys at Coplan + Crane, we will handle every aspect of your case, from calculating the full value of your losses – including lost wages – to negotiating with the insurance company and taking your case to trial if a fair settlement cannot be negotiated.

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Contact our office online or call (708) 358-8080 today for a FREE initial consultation. We welcome clients from Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas throughout Illinois.