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Lost Wages Defined in Personal Injury Cases

Lost wages are designed to compensate you for the money you would have earned working had it not been for the accident and ensuing disability. Basically, the amount of lost wages is the time off from work due to the accident. If you are paid by the hour, then your damages for lost work is for the hours you were off work due to the accident and time off to see the doctor, physical therapist, and other specialists or health care providers. If you miss out on overtime hours that you would have worked had you not been injured, you are entitled to recover damages for those lost wages as well. Of course, the lost hours and overtime will have to be documented by your boss or supervisor. If because of the injury you will not be able to return to your old job but must work in a lower-paying job, you are entitled to recover the difference between what you would have made had you not been injured.

If you are a salaried employee, the amount of your lost wages is measured by the amount of salary you lost because of your injuries, as well as any bonuses that you would have received based upon your previous performance. If you worked on commission, your track record would be looked at to determine how much you are entitled to as lost wages. If you are self-employed, you generally are permitted recovery of lost earnings only if you have been in business for more than a year; less than that and the law considers the damages too speculative.