How Are Lost Wages Calculated in Texas?

If you are hurt in an accident, you may be unable to work until you heal completely from your injuries. As a result, you could incur substantial lost wages. Fortunately, the person who caused your injury could be liable for your lost wages.

However, before receiving lost wages for a personal injury or accident claim, you must prove that the other party caused your injuries. Then, you must prove how much your lost wages are worth.

Our Dallas personal injury lawyer discusses lost wages and personal injury claims in this blog. Continue reading to learn what is included in lost wages and how to calculate the value of your loss of income.

What Is Included in Lost Wages for a Texas Personal Injury Claim?

Lost wages are a category of economic damages. It refers to the income you would have received had you not been injured by the other party. Examples of lost wages include, but are not limited to:

  • Hourly wages
  • Overtime pay
  • Salary 
  • Commissions
  • Self-employment income 
  • Part-time pay
  • Bonuses
  • Tips
  • Vacation and sick days earned
  • Income from gig work and freelance/independent contractor work

A lost wages claim can also include losses because of diminished earning capacity. If your injuries cause a disability or impairment, you may be able to return to work. However, the impairment or disability prevents you from earning what you did before the accident. 

Evidence for Lost Wage Claims in Dallas, TX

You must prove that the other party caused your injuries to recover damages for lost wages. Once you establish liability, you’ll also have to prove the extent of your losses.

Therefore, you must have evidence proving your injuries prevented you from working. You need medical evidence establishing the severity of your injuries. Your doctor or a medical expert explains how your specific injuries prevented you from performing your job duties.

After you establish that you cannot work, you must prove the value of your lost wages. Evidence you need includes:

  • Copies of tax returns, W2 statements, 1099s, and other proof of income
  • A letter from your employer verifying how much time you missed from work
  • Bank account statements
  • Tim cards
  • Income statements 
  • Employment agreement or handbook explaining benefits 
  • Retirement account statements 

The more evidence you gather proving your pre-injury income, the better your chance of recovering the total amount of your lost wages. Also, this evidence can be used when calculating damages for diminished earning capacity and ongoing lost wages. 

Calculating Lost Wages for Personal Injury Claims in Dallas, TX

It can be challenging to calculate lost wages, especially when your income fluctuates. The value of lost wages is the total of all income you would have received had you worked, plus benefits you would have earned, such as paid time off and matching retirement contributions by your employer. 

If you earn a salary, the value of lost wages is your salary times the number of pay periods you missed work. For example, if you are paid $2,000 weekly and miss 12 weeks, your lost wages would equal $24,000. Of course, this does not account for the loss of benefits. 

However, your income may fluctuate if you receive hourly pay, tips, or commissions. Self-employed individuals often experience fluctuations in the amount they earn. In these cases, you may need to calculate your average income over the past six months or a year to determine how much money you could have expected to earn had it not been for the accident. 

Can I Receive Future Loss of Income if I Sustain a Permanent Injury?

Lifelong impairments may prevent a victim from returning to any type of work. If so, they may receive compensation for future lost wages. 

Likewise, if the impairment prevents them from earning the same pre-injury income, they may receive compensation for diminished earning capacity. The value of diminished earning capacity is the difference between what they can earn now versus what they would have earned without the impairment. 

Calculating future loss of income can be tricky. It is difficult to predict what someone may have earned had they not been injured. Your attorney may work with various experts, such as vocational experts, financial professionals, medical specialists, and economists, to determine the value of future lost wages.

Several factors are examined and analyzed to determine the extent of these losses. Factors used to calculate future lost wages and diminished earning capacity include:

  • Your current age and anticipated retirement age
  • The type of work you can perform given your impairment or disability
  • The extent of your disability or impairment
  • The ability to learn a new skill or trade
  • Your education, skills, experience, and training
  • Anticipated increases in income for promotions 
  • The future outlook for growth in your chosen field
  • The anticipated rate of inflation and cost of living raises

The insurance company for the at-fault party will likely challenge the value you claim for lost wages, especially if you sustained a permanent disability. Future lost wages could total millions of dollars over a person’s lifetime. 

Regardless of your situation, you deserve to be compensated fully for all loss of income. A Dallas personal injury lawyer can help you fight for every dollar of income you lost because of another party’s negligent actions. 

Does Contributory Fault Impact Lost Wage Claims in Texas?

Contributory fault is a legal principle that applies when more than one party contributes to the cause of an accident. Texas has adopted a modified comparative negligence standard to address the issue. The state’s proportionate responsibility statute sets a 51% bar to recovery if you are blamed for causing your injury. 

If your level of fault is more than 50 percent, the other party is not responsible for your damages. 

However, if your level of blame is below 51 percent, you could still receive damages. The court reduces the amount you receive by your percentage of fault. Therefore, if you are 20% to blame for a car accident, you can only receive 80% of the value of your damages. 

Contributory fault allegations can significantly decrease how much you receive for lost wages. The statements you make could be intentionally misinterpreted to allege fault. It is best to let your attorney handle all communications with the insurance company. 

Do You Know How Much Your Lost Wage Claim Is Worth?

Do not rely on the insurance adjuster or company to calculate the correct value of lost wages and income. Instead, if you have questions about lost wage claims, you should talk with an experienced Dallas personal injury lawyer. Most lawyers offer free consultations so you can get the advice you need to protect your rights.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Dallas, TX

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Dallas, Texas, and need legal help, contact our Dallas personal injury lawyers at Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers
2512 State St,
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 855-1420