In an injury accident case, doI calculate my lost wages and future lost income from gross or net earnings?

UPDATED: Dec 6, 2011

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In an injury accident case, doI calculate my lost wages and future lost income from gross or net earnings?

I need to know the answer to this question before I go to mediation. I was injured in a truck accident which was not my fault. The defendants are saying that we have to go from my net wages and that does not sound right to me. I believe it is my gross wages.

Asked on December 6, 2011 under Personal Injury, New Mexico


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Net would be correct, since the difference between gross and net--e.g. FICA; withholding for an employer-provided health care--would not be taken out from the damage award. On the other hand, you should factor in the economic value of any benefits you would no longer receive if you cannot work--for example, say that you had employer-provided health care, but now cannot work and have to pay your own health insurance. In that event, you would include as an element of loss the value of the employer-paid portion of the health insurance premiums. Similarly, if you received pension contributions, an employer 401k match, etc. and no will no longer receive them, those, too, are potentially element of lost "wages" (the better term is lost "compensation," since today, a significant portion of people's compensation for working is often not wages per se).

All the above said, as long as it's parsed out for easy reference and well-annotated, bring information as to gross wages, net wages, benefits, etc.--it's better to have more information than you'll neee for the mediation than not.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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