What Are Lost Wages in New York?

In personal injury cases where victims are physically unable to work or earn a living, they can seek damages for “lost wages.” A head injury, a fractured bone, or even nerve damage can take several months to heal, and when extended time off of work is the only solution, this can add more strain to a tenuous financial situation.

Depending on the severity of injuries, victims may be incapable of returning to work, or resuming the duties they once performed. How do victims recoup the income and earnings lost due to their injuries?

The first step to gaining clarity about damage awards is by speaking with a qualified New York City personal injury lawyer who can explore the details of your claim and pertinent laws.

No-Fault benefits for lost wages

In the case of a vehicle accident, New York’s No-Fault insurance benefits would kick in. For the vast majority of people, policy limits are capped at $50,000. The caveat here is that No-Fault insurance only covers 80 percent of your lost wages, or a maximum of $2,000 in lost income benefits per month.

In households where the personal injury victim is the sole breadwinner, No-Fault benefits for lost wages are woefully inadequate– barely enough to pay rent or mortgage, and cover daily living expenses. This resource, while advantageous to injured motorists, may be insufficient for a lengthy recovery. When injuries are debilitating in nature and deemed “serious” by New York laws, the claimants can seek appropriate damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. 

Calculating lost wages & income

When calculating lost wages for a personal injury claim, your attorney will first look at the number of days you missed work until the case is settled or tried in court. This dollar amount is usually determined by taking your average daily earning, as well as tips, bonuses and other income, and multiplying it by the number of lost working days.

A claim for lost wages can also include unused vacation time as well as sick days.  Supporting documentation is necessary, and may include tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, along with an employer’s statement of your earnings. 

If you’re self-employed– as a business owner, independent contractor, or freelancer– documenting your lost wages and earnings can be more complicated. Having a skilled personal injury lawyer  guide you through the process is indispensable.

Here at Douglas & London, we help clients gather supporting evidence for actual lost wages and future loss of income.

Proving loss of earning capacity

When claimants suffer permanent disability, and cannot return to work before their injury case resolves, they can pursue money damages to account for this financial hardship. This is category of economic damages known as “loss of future earning capacity.”   

This might apply to a case where the plaintiff cannot return to the same job because of their limitations, reducing their normal income. It would also apply to claims where the victim is physically impaired, and unable to work in any kind of capacity. Establishing the value of lost earning potential requires the testimony of expert witnesses, and will call into question the following issues:

  • The scope of your disabilities
  • If you can receive vocational training for another line of work
  • Your salary and lost wages prior to the accident
  • The amount and consistency of your pre-accident earnings
  • The amount of benefits you received before the accident
  • How much you would have earned by retirement, had the injury not occurred
  • How your injuries have impacted eligibility for employment

Contact our team at Douglas and London for a free case review

The value of lost wages and future earnings is different in every personal injury case. And no matter what industry or field of work you were in, it pays to align yourself with experienced legal counsel. Reach out to Douglas & London to schedule a free case review with a New York City personal injury attorney today. There are no fees unless we settle or win your case!