In that case, you may be eligible for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to specific expenses and losses that can be calculated, including medical expenses and lost wages. According to a PI attorney, lost wages are vital in determining the value of any compensation claim. However, multiple factors must be considered when calculating lost wages. 

Lost wages refer to the money you would have earned if you had not missed work. They can be recovered by part-time and full-time employees and individuals who make hourly, weekly, or monthly salaries. The wages include overtime pay, the value of vacation or sick leave days, bonuses, tips, and company perks.

Calculating Lost Wages

Before determining the value of your lost wages, seeking medical attention for your injuries is essential. Medical treatment and documentation is the most effective way to substantiate your personal injury claim. If your healthcare provider advises you to take time off work to recover, you should document this by having them write you a note stating their opinion. 

Moreover, proving lost wages also requires additional information. You should start by getting a letter from your employer stating your hourly rate of pay or annual salary, overtime earnings, typical hours worked per week, and time is taken off due to your injury. 

Hourly Employee

If you are an hourly employee, you must determine the number of regular hours you missed from work. If your weekly hours vary, check the previous month to determine an average. Then, multiply the number of missed hours by your hourly rate. Repeat this process for overtime hours but by multiplying missed hours by 1.5 times your hourly rate. 

Salaried Employee

As a salaried employee, you need to divide your annual salary by the number of hours you work in a year (40 hours/week equals 2,080 hours/year). Once you calculate an hourly pay rate, be sure to multiply it by the hours missed to determine lost wages.


A self-employed income is more challenging to calculate, but you can use your previous tax records to help. But that only works if you have been self-employed long enough to report your yearly income. Contrarily, you will need other means of proving lost wages, such as appointments, orders, or contracts, that demonstrate potential payments you would have earned had you been able to work.

Calculating Benefits

Benefits, including bonuses, commissions, or potential contributions to a retirement plan, can contribute to your total wages. If you believe you lost any of these benefits as a result of missing work, you should include their value in your lost wages. Regarding lost wages, other factors such as fringe benefits, lost earning capacity, or lost earning potential must be considered in building the most substantial claim possible. 

Calculating lost wages for your personal injury claim is more complex. While lost wages are the amount you would have earned if you had not been harmed in an accident, lost earning potential is the amount you may have earned in the future if it had not been for the injuries you suffered. 

You can recover lost earning potential if you can prove that your ability to earn money in the future has been compromised or negated entirely by your injuries. That is why it is advisable to work with a skilled personal injury attorney who understands all the economic implications of a personal injury and can determine the full scope of your damages.