Lost income after a car accident is calculated in a number of different ways, depending on the specifics of your employment and your injuries. Whether you’re an employee, a contractor, or a business owner, if you’re hurt in a vehicle crash caused by someone else’s negligence, the at-fault driver is responsible for your lost income as well as your medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering. If you file a personal injury claim against that driver’s insurer and no reasonable settlement is offered, you may file a personal injury lawsuit; however, most car accident claims are settled out of court.
Claiming Lost Income
You can claim lost income as part of your damages in a vehicle accident, including past, present, and future wages or salary you would have earned had you not been injured. Additionally, you’re entitled to compensation for bonuses, raises, vacation time, and diminished earning capacity.
Types of Lost Income
- Yearly salary. If you receive a yearly salary, simply divide that amount by the days or hours you normally work each year, and multiply your daily or hourly salary by the number of days or hours you have missed and will miss from work due to your injuries.
- Hourly wage. If you’re paid by the hour, multiply your hourly wage by the number of hours you have missed and will miss from work due to your injuries.
- Self-employment. For an independent contractor, a sole proprietor, or a business partner, calculating lost income is more complex than it is for a salaried or hourly worker. You’ll need 1099 wage statements, bank statements, invoices, receipts, and any other available documentation to prove how much income you stand to lose because of your injuries.
- Sick leave and paid vacations. Because you’ve earned your days of paid vacation and sick leave by working, they’re included in the calculation of your lost income.
- Diminished earning capacity. In some cases, your injuries could prevent you from earning money you would have earned in the future had you not been injured. These future losses are the responsibility of the driver who caused your accident. An experienced lawyer can calculate your lost earning capacity by considering your job, your injury, your education and training, your work history, and your age.
- Lost job opportunities. If you were in line for a promotion or might have interviewed for a different position had you not been injured, those lost opportunities can also be factored into your lost income.
Because the at-fault driver’s insurer will look for any way to challenge or dispute your claim, especially if you’re self-employed, you’ll need convincing proof in the form of wage statements, bank records, tax returns, and verification of injuries from your doctors, as well as statements from your employer and perhaps from medical and financial expert witnesses. A car accident attorney can organize all this evidence and present it to help prove your lost income.
The Collateral Source Rule
Maryland’s collateral source rule holds the liable party in a personal injury case responsible for 100% of a plaintiff’s lost income regardless of benefits the plaintiff might receive from third-party sources before the claim is settled. If your auto insurance policy’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage pays for part of your lost wages or your employer allows you to use sick leave or vacation days while you’re off work due to your injuries, a jury may not consider such payments to reduce your award when calculating your lost income. Similarly, if your own health insurance policy covers your medical bills, the at-fault driver is still responsible for all of those bills. Once a settlement is reached, your employer or insurer might pursue a subrogation claim to recoup what it has already paid you, in which case your attorney can work to get you the best deal possible under the circumstances.
Have You Lost Income After a Car Accident in Maryland?
An experienced car accident attorney can help determine your lost income accurately and negotiate for fair compensation. Please contact us online, start a chat, or call us at 301-790-3600 to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees unless we win your case.