How To Calculate Lost Wages

How To Calculate Lost Wages

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The process of calculating lost wages is fairly straight forward if you are paid hourly. First, obtain from your doctor on off-work slip, authorizing the days that you can miss work on account of your injuries. Next, ask your employer for records showing the number of hours that missed work as a result of this accident and a statement of your hourly wage. Then, multiply the number of hours missed by your hourly wage and you will have your gross income lost as a direct result of the accident.

You may also want to add hours missed from work while attending and traveling to medical appointments–or indirectly lost as a result of this accident. A statement from you as to how many hours you missed plus records from your employer backing up the statement and records of dates of doctor’s visits are all that is necessary. Multiply the missed hours by your hourly wage to arrive at your lost gross income.

If you were in an auto accident and were driving or riding in an Oregon insured vehicle, then there is Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) available, that in addition to paying for your medical bills will also pay for lost wages–with four caveats. First, PIP will only pay for lost wages when “disability continues for at least 14 days.” Second, PIP will only reimburse you for 70% of your gross loss wages. Third, PIP tops out at $3000 per month. And fourth, PIP will only pay for time lost directly as a result of injuries; PIP will not pay for time lost going to and from doctor’s appointments. However, any lost wages over and above what PIP reimburses you can be sought from the insurance company for the person who caused the accident at the time you settle your claim.

If you are not paid on an hourly basis, you will have to obtain sufficient information to calculate your lost wages. For example, if you are paid on a salary you should obtain documentation of your monthly gross salary. You can then divide that monthly salary by 20 to arrive at you daily gross wage. Multiply that daily gross wage by the number of days you missed to arrive at your lost wages. If you are paid on a commission you will have to obtain documentation of total income for last two years (or other recent period of time), divide that total by the number of days worked in the period to come up with an hourly daily wage.

Likewise, if you self employed you will need sufficient documentation to calculate earnings per day or per hour, plus documentation of time lost from work and the doctor’s off-work authorization. You will then be able to calculate your lost income by multiplying hours/days missed from work times average earnings per hour/day.

I keep referring to lost gross income. That is because that is the proper way to calculate it. In April you will have to report on your tax returns any amounts reimbursed to you for lost wages as “income” and will pay taxes on the income at that time. This is different than settlement amounts you obtain for pain and suffering due to bodily injury: those types of noneconomic damages are not taxed.