02 Oct Compensation for Injuries – Part 2 of 4: Past Wage loss
By: Darren Kautz
The name says it all. Past wage loss refers to the amount of pay that an injured individual forgoes as a result of his or her injuries. Wage loss often forms a substantial part of settlement claim as it specifically relates to income loss due to the person’s inability to work, or alternatively, work with limited functionality that also hinders income generation.
Due to its very nature, sometimes it is very straight forward to calculate wage loss. In a simple scenario, the injured claimant would keep track of days missed from work due to the accident and multiply that by the hourly rate that he or she gets paid and arrive at a number. Often, however, it is not as straight forward. What if the aggrieved person was receiving an annual salary rather than hourly wage? What if he or she missed an opportunity for a promotion because of absence from work? In cases involving seasonal work, how is wage loss to be calculated if the absent time from work spans across various seasons?
In not-so-clear-cut cases, courts often rely on a holistic approach to attempt and quantify wage loss. To begin, the injured parties’ income tax returns may be indicative of wage loss if a clear disparity can be noted between the time the person is incapable of working due to injuries and the time in which he or she was capable of working. To further substantiate such claims, it is often helpful to consider employment records and the nature of work. These will often create a snapshot of the employee’s occupational tendencies and trends. Sometimes, a clear distinction can be drawn on work productivity between pre and post-accident time periods.
The lawyer acting for the injured party may also have to research and consider industry modalities and practices in order to gain further understanding on the particular field in question. For example, semi-truck drivers are subjected to restrictions on how many consecutive days or hours they can drive. These restrictions can impact a claim for wage loss since they restrict the claim within the four corners of the regulations. In other words, a semi-truck driver cannot claim 180 hours of wage loss in a month if he is restricted to a maximum of 90 hours of driving per month.
So, it may be more than a simple calculation. It often isn’t. Personal injury lawyers are equipped with deep knowledge and understanding of various industries and fields. This puts them in a unique position to be able to consider the law and advocate for an injured client whilst being cognizant of industry practices and regulations.
Care to further your understanding on this subject? Consider the following scenario:
Brittany is a hostess at a popular local restaurant. She works approximately 25 hours a week at rate of $13 per hour. Occasionally, she works overtime at a rate of $26 per hour during busy seasons. Brittany was involved in a motor vehicle accident on October 1, 2017 .
What further information would you need to know in order to calculate Brittany’s wage loss? Comment below!
Join Kautz Injury Law again next week as I, Darren Kautz, will speak on future care expenses as a head of damage which can form part of a personal injury claim.