Speak to a Lawyer Now! | Free Consultation 866-456-HUNT


Proving Lost Wages in an Accident Case

Posted by James Hunt | May 10, 2021

Proving Lost Wages in an Accident Case

There are several types of evidence that can be used to prove your lost wages in your accident case.  First, you must have admissible evidence to prove lost wages in an accident case.  Admissible evidence is the type of evidence, whether a document or a person testifying, that a judge will permit to be shown to a jury.  The typical sort of admissible evidence used to prove lost wages includes financial statements, pay stubs, a W-2 tax form, employment agreements, tax returns, and medical documentation. Then, these documents must be packaged and presented to the insurance company or at-fault party during negotiations. If the case cannot be settled and a lawsuit is filed, these documents can be used at trial to prove your lost wages.  In certain cases, a financial expert witness (like an economist) may be called to testify as to a calculation for past and future lost wages.

New York and New Jersey laws protect your rights to compensation. Keep reading to learn more about proving lost wages in an accident case.

How Do You Prove Lost Wages?

The evidence that you present to the insurance company must show that a specific event sequence occurred. These events generally demonstrate that negligence caused your injuries, and that as a result of your injuries, you were forced to miss time from work.  If you have a serious injury that prevents you from working in the future, or you have become disable as a result of the injury, then you may be entitled to recover for loss of future wages too. 

More specifically, the elements that you must prove are:

  1. General duty. The at-fault party owed you a general duty of care.
  2. Breach of duty. The at-fault party breached his or her general duty.
  3. The breach resulted in your injuries or a family member's death.
  4. Your doctor ordered you to stay home from work, your injuries are serious enough to prevent you from going back to work, you have become disabled and unable to work, and you have lost wages because as a result.

From the above-referenced list, you can see that you must be able to prove each element.

Evidence You Need When Proving Lost Wages in an Accident Case

The insurance company will never “just take your word for it” when it comes to paying a settlement, especially for a severe accident or wrongful death. They will push back when you file a claim by demanding evidence. The documentation and resources available will make a massive difference in your overall result.

The evidence that is commonly used to prove lost wages in an accident case includes:

  • Tax returns
  • Pay stubs
  • W-2 forms
  • Verification letters
  • Bank statements
  • 1099 IRS forms
  • Medical documentation
  • Medical expert opinion
  • Financial expert opinion
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Other forms of evidence

The medical documentation portion will need to show that you were physically unable to return to work because of your accident injuries. It must also demonstrate the amount of bed rest you were prescribed and evidence that supports you followed through on your care plan. A medical doctor may have to testify as an expert witness to discuss your injuries and how your injuries prevent you from continuing to work. In addition, an economist may need to testify in order to calculate your total economic losses, meaning, the total amount of past and future lost wages.

How to Prove Lost Wages When You Are Self-Employed

Proving lost wages in an accident case if you are self-employed is different than if you are employed with a company. If you are a self-employed person and cannot return to your company or work, you can also prove lost wages after an accident and recover your losses.

You may also be able to receive an award for:

  • Profit losses
  • Goodwill losses
  • Investment losses
  • Opportunity losses

Since these cases are more challenging to prove, you should work with a licensed personal injury attorney in New York and New Jersey. They have the requisite local knowledge and resources to help you determine a fair number to demand from the insurer. Otherwise, you could be leaving a significant amount of money on the table that the insurance company could be legally obligated to pay if you can prove it.

How to Prove Lost Wages If You Cannot Return to Work

In more severe matters, an individual cannot return to work due to a long-term, debilitating injury. Proving lost wages in an accident case under these circumstances is more challenging. You will need to hire an attorney to help you assess several factors with an economist to demand an adequate settlement.

These factors may include:

  • Number of years left before retirement
  • Your overall employment history
  • Specialized skills and training
  • Educational background
  • History of earnings
  • A forecast of future earnings
  • Lifestyle
  • Other factors

These factors are helpful when approximating the economic damages you will suffer in the future due to the accident injuries someone else caused you. Your attorney will ensure that your case accounts for every area of your life impacted while demanding adequate compensation when losses are discovered.

What Can You Recover Under Lost Wages?

What Are Lost Wages?

Lost wages, also known as lost earnings, are the paychecks and benefits you do not receive for missing work after an accident. Since personal injury cases seek to recover compensation for your total losses, lost wages are another form of damages you may recover. In addition to lost pay, you can also recover future lost earnings from the liable party if you cannot return to work long-term as usual.

What Can You Recover Under Lost Wages?

The term lost wages encompasses a wide range of compensation that an injured victim can claim under New York or New Jersey state laws. They are wages you receive in exchange for your employment with a company and may go beyond your weekly paycheck.

The types of wages you can recover include:

  • Type 1. Hourly wages
  • Type 2. Tips
  • Type 3. Bonuses
  • Type 4. Overtime pay
  • Type 5. Sick days
  • Type 6. Vacation days
  • Type 7. Benefits
  • Type 8. Future lost earnings

If you hand the insurance company a copy of your paystub, that document does not necessarily show all of the consideration you receive for your work. However, they will not tell you to provide additional information to get every penny you receive. The only people who will ensure you get what you are worth are you and your personal injury attorney.

Contact a Lawyer When Proving Lost Wages in an Accident Case

Proving lost wages in an accident case can be complicated. A results-oriented and experienced personal injury lawyer in New York and New Jersey can help you establish the value of your lost wages while proving your losses to opposing parties. Get a Free Case Evaluation with Hunt & Associates, LLC by calling (866) 456-HUNT or send us a private message directly.

Hablamos Español o puedes contactarnos aquí.

Attorney advertising.

About the Author

James Hunt

Jim Hunt, the founder of Hunt & Associates, is a former Big Law attorney who trained at one of the biggest and most prestigious law firms in the world. He now uses that unique experience and training to help his injured clients fight for justice against “the big guys,” i...


Hunt & Associates, LLC is committed to answering your questions about Slips and Falls, Construction Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents, and Pedestrian / Bicycle Accident law issues in New York and New Jersey.

We offer a free consultation and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.