How are Lost Wages Calculated in New York?

After a serious car accident due to another driver’s negligence, many people are unable to work. In New York, calculating lost wages is relatively straightforward if the person returns to work. However, those with permanent or long-term disability, it is more complicated—as calculations must include future lost wages.

The New York City car accident lawyers of Douglas and London will determine this so that you can receive the maximum compensation. The majority of cases are settled, but we will take your claim to trial if necessary.

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No-Fault State

Keep in mind that New York is a no-fault state for automobile insurance purposes. Therefore, except for severe injuries, the person’s insurance will replace lost wages, just as it pays for medical bills, up to the policy limits. However, there are limits to this amount. While accident victims receive up to 80 percent of their lost wages, the cap is only $2,000 per month– which does not go far in New York City.

If the person was seriously hurt, they may go outside the no-fault system and file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Under state law, these injuries must involve:

  • Broken bones
  • Loss of a body part
  • Loss of a bodily function
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Injuries preventing normal activities for at least 90 days post-accident

Lost Wages

Lost wages consist of the total amount the individual was unable to earn—from the accident date until the time they returned. As noted, this is a straightforward calculation– adding up the number of days absent from work and the wages or salary the person would have earned during that time.

Evidence is necessary, such as pay stubs and employer statements. When a job includes tips, bonuses, and similar income, that amount is also included. Your personal injury lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence.

Future Lost Wages

If the person cannot ever return to work, future lost wages come into play when considering damages. In addition to consideration of the individual’s age, education, job, and skills– calculation of this also involves several other elements. This includes testimony from medical experts regarding the prognosis, and an economic specialist focusing on the earnings that someone in this position would typically expect in the course of their career.

Other benefits, such as health insurance, 401(k) or other retirement plan contributions, paid holidays, and the like, are also part of the equation. The calculation for future lost wages will vary depending on whether the person is ever expected to go back to work, or if the impairment is permanent.

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Loss of Potential Earning Capacity

Some injuries are so severe that the person will never work again or cannot work in the field in which they were trained. For example, a pianist in an orchestra, whose fingers were severely broken, can no longer make a living in that occupation. Some of the calculations for loss of potential earning capacity are similar to those for future lost income, but there is additional specificity.

For example, consideration of the current job market for this occupation is considered, as is whether the person earned a standard salary, or much of their income was performance-based. How many years before the person was scheduled to retire is another substantial factor. Various parties may need to testify, including:

  • The employer
  • The economic specialist
  • Physicians

Co-workers, relatives, and friends may also testify, as they can speak to the person’s role in their profession, and how the accident has limited or cut short a promising career.

Contact Douglas and London today

If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, and you are experiencing issues regarding your lost wages, contact the New York City personal injury lawyers at Douglas and London.

We offer free consultations, which you may schedule by calling or texting 24/7 or completing our online contact form. After reviewing your case, we will discuss your options. We work on a contingency basis, so there is never a fee unless we win.