After a car accident in Tampa, you may face more than just property damage and injuries. You may also have to miss work. That means missing crucial paychecks you rely on. For many of us, missing even one paycheck can set us back tremendously. For the average person, missing multiple paychecks can lead to financial ruin.
It’s estimated that nearly 60 percent of people live paycheck to paycheck. If you’re involved in a car accident in Tampa, you may not be medically cleared to return to work for days, if not weeks.
The good news is, you may be able to recover most, if not all, of your lost wages through a successful personal injury lawsuit.
The Tampa car accident attorneys at Steinger, Greene & Feiner are here to help you get the compensation you deserve. We have recovered over $1 BILLION on behalf of our clients throughout South Florida.
What Are Lost Wages?
Lost wages refers to the money you were unable to earn due to your injuries after a car accident. This is your salary or hourly income, as well as overtime, bonuses, commissions, or tips you missed out on. It also includes any sick days or other paid time off you used while you were too injured to work, as well as the retirement fund contributions you would have made.
Calculating pure lost wages is rather simple. You take the amount of money you would usually receive per hour, and multiply it by the number of hours you missed. For instance, let’s say you work in a warehouse making $30,000 a year. That’s approximately $14 an hour. Let’s also assume you are unable to work for two weeks, so you lost 80 hours of work.
Now, simply multiply $14 by eighty. This comes out to $1,120 that you lost because you were too injured to work.
If you work in a job where you mainly make money from tips or commissions, recovering lost wages may be a little trickier. You will need pay stubs showing how much you generally make per hour. A letter from your employer explaining your job duties, the pay structure of the company and how much you generally make can be extremely helpful. This letter should also include any paid time off you used, as well as other perks and benefits you lost.
The Difference Between Lost Wages and Lost Earning Capacity
Lost wages refers to the real money you lost because of the time you missed. Lost earning capacity refers to the money you will miss in the future due to the ongoing nature of your injuries.
This typically only applies if your injuries are disabling and/or permanent, or you are injured in a way that prevents you from returning to the same line of work. For example, a permanent back injury prevents you from returning to work in a warehouse.
Winning compensation for lost earning capacity can be difficult. But a skilled Tampa car accident lawyer can calculate how much you may be owed. They’ll fight the insurance company on your behalf to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. They will consider a few factors, such as:
- How long you would have worked if you hadn’t been injured
- Your education/training before your injuries
- Your ability to learn a new trade or find a job you are qualified for
- Your earnings history
While proving future lost earning capacity can be difficult, a skilled attorney can make sure you and your family are taken care of if you are unable to return to work after a wreck.
Lost Income and Earning Capacity for Self-Employed Individuals
If you work for someone else as an employee, you will have documentation showing how much you generally make. But if you’re a contractor or otherwise self-employed, proving lost wages and earning capacity can be more difficult. However, it’s not impossible! You simply need to provide a different set of documents.
For instance, instead of pay stubs, which may fluctuate from week to week in this case, you may instead need to provide tax forms and tax return documents that show how much you generally make every year.
In addition, you may need to provide recent invoices or contracts that show the work you’re currently performing but can no longer perform due to your injuries. Correspondence with potential customers can also help show the money you’re missing out on because of the wreck.
It’s important to note that you can only receive compensation for reported income. If you have a side gig that pays cash under the table or have unreported tips, you generally can’t recover that form of income.
Get the Help You Deserve from an Experienced Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
Dealing with the outcome of a car accident is never easy. It’s only made worse when you can’t work because of your injuries. At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, we make sure you get your money as quickly as possible to minimize the financial impact of the wreck.
Our goal is to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company and get your money fast. However, if the insurance company won’t offer a fair settlement, we’ll take them to court and fight for your compensation.
There’s a good chance you’ll receive some kind of settlement offer from the insurance company after your accident. They know you need money now, and will probably offer you less than you deserve.
Before you accept it, call us and let us review your case to determine if you are entitled to greater compensation.