If you are injured in a New York City slip and fall accident– caused by another person’s negligence, then you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit. Lost wages are a category of damages that are available to victims of these accidents.
In some slip and fall accidents, the victim’s pride is all that is wounded. However, many are much more severe and can lead to life-threatening injuries. The ripple effect on the lives of the victim and their family can be devastating without representation by a qualified New York City slip and fall lawyer. For example, the victim may be unable to work and generate an income that their family relies upon to survive.
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What Factors Are Considered When Calculating Lost Wages?
The job a person holds and the nature and severity of their injuries– determine how much work will be missed. For example, a mangled finger may not cause a sales rep to miss any time at work, but it could cause a surgeon to never see an operating room again. Similarly, a broken leg may not cause a web designer to miss any time, but a professional athlete may be forced to retire permanently.
If you were employed at the time of the accident, the calculation will begin with the amount of earnings you would have made– had you not been injured. This includes the time between the date of the accident and the date your slip and fall claim is resolved. The number of days you are forced to miss will be multiplied by your average daily wage during that period. Notably, this is not limited only to actual income but can also include tips, bonuses, incentives, benefits, sick pay, and vacation time.
You will need to provide documentation, such as pay stubs, your employment contract, tax returns, or a written statement supplied by your employer, to prove these amounts.
What Happens if You Are Permanently Disabled?
Victims who can return to work after the accident will be able to seek lost wages for the amount of time they missed due to their injuries. However, some slip and fall accident victims may never be able to work again– in any job– due to a permanent disability. Still, others will rejoin the workforce but not in the same position with the same responsibilities and pay. These individuals may be able to recover for future lost income.
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Future Lost Wages Can Be More Complicated to Calculate
While calculating lost wages between the accident and the final decree is typically straightforward– calculating future lost wages can be much more complicated. Testimony from at least one expert witness will be required to provide an informed assessment of your injuries’ scope and a realistic timetable for you to recover fully. Some of the factors that will be considered in tallying this calculation may include the following:
- The permanency of the victim’s injuries. Some injuries are permanent, while others may heal, at least to a degree, over time.
- The degree of disability caused by the injuries.
- The victim’s qualifications and mental and physical ability to perform in a different line of work.
- The victim’s essential job functions before the accident and the amount of earnings they were receiving.
- The plaintiff’s age is a factor, as the closer they are to retirement age, the fewer the number of working years they have left.
- The value of the benefits, such as health insurance, retirement, and paid vacation.
- The consistency of the victim’s earnings prior to sustaining these injuries.
What Evidence Do I Need to Prove My Lost Wages?
In a slip and fall claim, your attorney will use several pieces of evidence to prove your lost wages, including:
- Your pay stubs from your employment before your accident.
- Bank statements showing payroll deposits.
- Your tax returns will show how much salary you claimed before you were injured.
- Written statements from your employer that attest to your regular earnings.
If relevant, your attorney will also use your pre-accident work patterns to prove your lost overtime earnings, lost sick days, or holidays that you needed to use during your recovery. This could also include reductions in tips or gratuity income and bonuses or perks you were not eligible for due to your absence from your job.
The negligent party liable for your losses might counter that your injuries were not as bad as you claim, and that you were able to do your job—but elected not to return to work. Your lawyer can rebut that argument with testimony from your treating physicians and therapists and with expert testimony about the extent and effects of your injuries.
If your injuries cause an extended absence from your job or interfere with your opportunities for promotions, your lawyer might also argue for damages to compensate for lost future earning potential. They will base that argument on your salary history and past promotions. Expert testimony from human resource specialists and forensic accountants might also bolster those arguments.
In every case, your slip and fall attorney will support an argument for lost wages and earning potential by introducing evidence that shows:
- Your job title.
- When you were hired.
- You were regularly and continuously employed at the time of your slip and fall accident.
- Your regular working hours and pay rate.
- The workdays you missed or are likely to miss due to your injuries.
- How your employer awards bonuses and other job perks.
Keep in mind that the purpose of damages is to reimburse you for your verifiable losses resulting from your accident. Therefore, if you receive replacement income from workers’ compensation insurance or disability benefits, those amounts will offset any damages award you will be entitled to recover.
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Retain a Qualified Attorney
It is essential to have an experienced advocate on your side when seeking lost wages. At Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C., we have been serving New York for over 50 years and are committed to fighting for justice and achieving the maximum recovery of damages on behalf of our clients.
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If you have been injured in a New York City slip and fall accident, call us at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. 24/7 for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer. There are no upfront legal costs because we work on a contingency-fee-basis.