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Calculating Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Case

Seth Harris

Last modified on August 9, 2023

Seeking compensation for lost wages is crucial after getting hurt in an accident. If you can’t return to work or need time off for doctor’s appointments, the income you don’t earn can cause financial strain. Calculating lost wages is fairly simple. However, it involves more than adding the wages you haven’t been able to earn since the accident. You must also consider the pay you will be unable to make in the future if your injury is permanent or disabling.

What Constitutes Lost Wages in New York?

Lost wages are financial compensation a person can pursue to cover the income they aren’t earning after getting hurt in an accident someone else caused. You should try to recover your lost wages by filing an insurance claim or lawsuit against the party who is at fault for your injuries.

Various types of injuries can prevent you from returning to work or completing your usual tasks. When that happens, you can file a lost wage claim and seek compensation to cover the income you’re unable to make while out of work or performing at a limited functional capacity.

Wages include more than a base hourly or salary pay. They involve additional income you might receive in the course of employment, such as:

  • Bonuses – You must submit proof of the bonuses you received in the past. If you don’t typically get bonuses from your employer, you won’t be able to recover compensation for that particular benefit. The bonuses you receive should be integral to your income. Copies of prior checks or paystubs showing past bonuses are sufficient evidence.
  • Health insurance, 401(k) plan, and other benefits – Employee benefits are critical to any job. If you can’t do your job, you can’t contribute to your 4019(k) or another retirement plan through your employer. You might also have to pay out of pocket for medical treatment if you don’t get medical coverage while out of work.
  • Overtime pay – If you regularly work beyond your normal hours and receive overtime pay, compensation from a claim or lawsuit should cover any missed overtime due to your injury.
  • Other occupational perks – You might receive perks as an employee of a company. You can claim expenses for specific perks, such as a gym membership or company vehicle, if you can’t return to your job for a significant timeframe.

How to Determine Lost Wages After an Accident

Calculating your lost wages doesn’t involve a complicated formula. Simply multiply the number of hours you don’t work by your hourly pay if you’re an hourly employee. You can also add in employee perks, health insurance coverage, commissions, and other types of wages.

If you work on salary, divide your annual pay by the number of work days in one year. Multiply that number by the number of hours you cannot work.

How Long Does It Take to Get Reimbursed for Lost Wages After an Accident?

You can’t predict when you’ll receive compensation for your lost wages. The timeframe differs from one person to the next. It often depends on the size of the claim, complicating factors, and the insurance company’s caseload.

Some claims settle quickly. Others take months to resolve. The insurance company might deny the claim or offer an inadequate settlement. If that happens, you might need to file a lawsuit, which takes much longer than injury claims. You could spend months or more fighting for compensation before you get the money you need to cover your lost wages.

Don’t Forget About Future Lost Wages

Your lost wages can include income you can’t earn in the future due to a disability or permanent injury. However, future lost wages differ from past lost wages. It involves a more complicated formula, especially while considering commissions, bonuses, and other employee benefits.

Since you can’t predict whether you can work at your current job or seek employment elsewhere at a later date, a doctor must evaluate your condition. They can assign a disability rating indicating the level of permanency of your injury and how it affects your body as a whole. You can base your calculations on that number.

Speak to a Dedicated Personal Injury Attorney in New York

At Harris Keenan & Goldfarb, we understand the consequences of getting hurt in an accident. The situation becomes overwhelming if you can’t earn a living. Our attorneys will analyze your case and calculate the appropriate value to pursue the compensation you deserve.

If you sustained injuries in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, call us today at [phone-number linked=true] for a confidential consultation in New York.

Over $500 Million in Verdicts and Settlements

Our track record showcases over $500 million won for our clients. Each victory underlines our commitment to justice and client care. Explore our impact, case by case.

VERDICT

$17,500,000

A Brooklyn jury awarded Mr. Vargas $17.5 million for the City of New York’s violation of his civil rights for failing to provide him medical care while in custody. The jury found that the police officers involved failed to provide the necessary medical treatment and awarded $17.5 million to Mr. Vargas.

VERDICT

$4,730,398

Harris Keenan & Goldfarb partners Seth Harris and Sheri Holland obtained a $4,730,398.00 jury verdict on behalf of our client who tripped and fell at a private apartment building in the Bronx, suffering a broken foot that developed a very painful, permanent neurological condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (“RSD”).

VERDICT

$12,561,772

A Bronx jury awarded John Doe over $12 million for an accident on a construction site. John Doe was working when a piece of scaffold weighing 35 pounds fell, striking John Doe in the lower back. John Doe suffered a herniated disc requiring surgical removal of a portion of the disc and permanent nerve damage.

VERDICT

$10,500,000

A Bronx jury awarded $10.5 million to the mother of Malcolm Ferguson, who was wrongfully shot and killed by the New York City Police Department. The police officer, Louis Rivera, also a defendant in the case, was found to have used excessive force in violation of Malcolm Ferguson’s civil rights as protected under the United States Constitution.

VERDICT

$4,000,000

A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff William Cardoza $4 million for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Mr. Cardoza was pepper-sprayed and repeatedly hit with a police nightstick. As a result, Mr. Cardoza sustained injuries to his hand and finger.

VERDICT

$3,470,670

The firm’s client, a 33-year-old teacher’s assistant, was scalded by an espresso machine that exploded while the defendant’s employee was demonstrating how the machine worked. The client was a customer at the defendant’s coffee shop on the date of the accident and suffered first-degree burns to her right (dominant) hand.

VERDICT

$4,000,000

The firm represented the mother- decedent and her infant son. During the decedent’s admission to the defendant hospital, the defendant dispensed anesthesia during an epidural to the decedent in an inadequate manner. The mother-decedent suffered personal injuries and wrongful death due to the defendant’s failure to properly administer epidural anesthesia.

VERDICT

$3,823,000

Mr.Brennan fell from approximately 25 feet while working on a construction project. He suffered a shattered bone in his right leg requiring surgery and hardware placement. Mr. Brennan also suffered two fractures in his facial bones, and a dislocated finger requiring surgical repair.

VERDICT

$2,750,000

The firm’s client was a child with cerebral palsy who was injured as a result of medical malpractice. The firm’s clients claimed improper management of pregnancy, labor, and delivery resulting in brain damage, and received a Brooklyn personal injury settlement.

VERDICT

$1,677,835

The firm’s client, a 63-year-old mentally incompetent man, slipped and fell in his own urine while attempting to walk to the bathroom at the defendant’s senior citizen home. The client fractured his hip and as a result is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The client claimed that the staff of the home failed to properly care for him, and the jury awarded $1,677,835.

VERDICT

$2,995,000

The firm’s client, a 47-year-old male, slipped and fell on a public sidewalk in the Bronx. It had snowed four to five days prior to the date of the accident, and the sidewalk was covered with ice. The client suffered a lumbar fracture and a herniated disc. The jury found the city liable and awarded the client a $2,995,000 personal injury settlement in the Bronx.

VERDICT

$2,610,000

A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Luis Molina $2.61 million for injuries sustained when he fell down a subway station stairway. Mr. Molina was caused to slip and fall as a result of a plastic bag that had blown onto the steps from a street opening. As a result of the fall, Mr. Molina suffered a herniated disc and a tear of his right shoulder’s rotator cuff. The jury found that the NYC Transit Authority was liable for the accident.

VERDICT

$2,253,714

A Bronx jury awarded Ms. Colon $2.25 million for a trip and fall accident. Ms. Colon was caused to fall when she moved to the right to allow another pedestrian to pass, and her foot rolled to the outside due to the sidewalk being unlevel with the adjoining grass. The jury found the defendant liable and awarded Ms. Colon $2,253,714.00 for her pain and suffering.

VERDICT

$1,900,000

A Brooklyn jury awarded Arvella Floyd $1.9 million for a fractured wrist which required multiple surgeries, including an open-reduction internal fixation and a carpal tunnel release. Ms. Floyd was injured when the hot water knob of the shower fell off after numerous complaints to the superintendent, and scalding water spewed toward her, causing her to
fall and break her wrist.

VERDICT

$1,350,000

A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Juanita Young $1,350,000 for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Ms. Young, who is legally blind, was handcuffed from behind, with her children watching, and taken to the top of the stairs to exit the building. The officer proceeded to push her down the stairs multiple times.

What Our Clients Say About Us

arien machicotearien machicote
20:55 17 Jul 24
I must say I am extremely happy and amazed at the incredible work at Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb they were always available if I had any questions and they were always answered with very professionallyJason Steinberg is a great lawyer and I will always highly suggest this law firm and team to anyone out their. Thank you again to everyone at this incredible Firm!!!
Cole ColdwaterCole Coldwater
19:36 20 Jun 24
My experience with Harris Keenan and Goldfarb was wonderful. My legal representative, Steven LaRocca with Samantha Walton always made me feel well defended and cared for, in a way that went beyond professional representation and into the realm of caring about me on a personal level. Steven, Samantha and Seth Harris got me a great outcome and I can’t thank them enough!
Jennifer RosarioJennifer Rosario
14:16 05 Jun 24
The best law firm I have ever went with thank you so much
david Santiagodavid Santiago
18:05 21 Mar 24
Maria RoqueMaria Roque
20:49 15 Mar 24
Excellent person, very Professional, they assist you in any language, your call is always answered. I recommend you for any case of support you have, your refund is satisfactory. and fast
S SS S
14:09 02 Mar 24
I am completely satisfied, and recommend Harris Keenan & Goldfarb as Attorneys to represent anyone. Their care for me physically, and overall helped me stay strong in spite of my injuries. Always available to answer questions, and inform.They got me Justice, and achieved a substantial outcome for my case.I am very impressed, and thankful for their outstanding performance on my behalf.I am very pleased, and significantly satisfied with their representation.‐-Sherylon Wilkins
Robert LennonRobert Lennon
15:26 21 Feb 24
Patient and diligence is how I describe the effort of HKG the work was thorough, honest and fair, I have no complaints. Special thanks to attorney Blake and his paralegal Thierry.
Gene Matos (fanboye)Gene Matos (fanboye)
18:48 15 Jan 24
I first crossed paths with Seth Harris when serving jury duty many years ago. He was so professional and personable, that when my mom was seeking legal counsel for medical malpractice, I told her she had to reach out to his firm. We had meetings with a few different firms, but Harris Keenan & Goldfarb was the only firm that did not try to get us to sign paperwork before even meeting. They took the time to listen and understand our situation before we signed anything, and they were transparent and responsive the whole time. I would like to give special thanks to Samantha Walton, Marla Stein, Val Wallace and Seth Harris for helping my mom through this tough time. They were honest and upfront, and even though Seth Harris wasn't personally on the case, he took the time to meet with us and give us his thoughts on it.
Solange IsaacSolange Isaac
17:52 08 Jan 24
I am pleased with the services provided by Ms Sheri on my case. The team at Harris, Keenan, & Goldfarb were very nice and explained everything to me. Everything that I had questions on they answered without frustration and were prompt and knowledgeable.6 years ago I had a slip and fall accident at my employers place of business. I reached out to them because I knew that I was being wrongfully treated. They took care of the case, restored my self confidence, and brought so much peace to my problem riddled life.I can recommend without a shadow of a doubt the services of Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb to anyone who is in need of someone who will have your back!
Brittany DempseyBrittany Dempsey
16:02 08 Jan 24
My mother had an accident with her ankle back in 2019. I immediately contacted Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb on the day of the accident. They were extremely prompt and helpful. They attended to my mother's case beautifully and she's been recovering well. I'd like to thank you for being so diligent, kind and above all professional. I'd recommend this law firm to anyone who are injured and in need of legal assistance. My mother, Andrea, and I thank you for everything.
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