Southern California roads are congested with millions of vehicles each day. Because there are so many cars in such a small area, accidents happen frequently. When accidents happen, there is always the potential that someone will get hurt. 

When an accident does cause an injury to you or a loved one, it creates a difficult situation. Many car accident injuries will force you to be out of work. This means you won’t be making money and may be concerned about how you’re going to pay your bills. Your friends at Steinberg Injury Lawyers can help.

Damages Include Lost Wages

As your car accident lawyer, we will fight to get you compensation for your injuries. This includes lost wages.

Even if you’re only out of work for a short period of time, that’s still money you would have if it weren’t for the car accident. You deserve to be compensated for the work you missed.

To successfully claim and get compensation for lost wages, you need to prove that the injuries caused by the car accident prohibited you from working. You’ll also need to show that you would have made money if you weren’t out of work. 

To provide proof for the money you are out, not only will you need to show medical documentation proving you cannot do your job, but you may also need to submit a recent tax return, W-2, paystub, and letter from your employer to show your current wages and employment. 

Calculating Lost Wages

Car accidents can be expensive. Even if you are not injured, the cost of a car accident can depend on many factors and the last thing you should worry about when you are injured is your finances. 

If your car accident injury wasn’t too severe, you might be back at work pretty quickly. However, whether you only miss a couple of days, or are out for weeks at a time, you deserve to be compensated for your missing wages.

But if you’re still out of work or aren’t sure when you’re returning to work, that makes the calculation a bit more challenging. If you are unsure how to calculate these missing wages, your Southern California car accident lawyer can help. By working with Steinberg Injury Lawyers, we can help you accurately estimate the total lost wages based on your injury, your diagnosis, and your anticipated recovery. You shouldn’t miss out on any of your lost wages for an accident you played no part in causing, even if you have not yet returned to work.

Because not everyone is paid under the same standards, knowing what you are entitled to can be difficult. Whether you are paid hourly, an annual salary, or are self-employed, not being able to work means you will be out of money.  

Hourly Wage

If you are paid hourly, calculating your lost wages may not be very difficult. Simply take the hourly wage that you are paid and multiply it by the hours of work you have missed. This is the amount of lost wages you will want to try to recover. 

Annual Salary

If you are a salaried employee, calculating your lost wages will take an additional step. To figure out how much you are out, simply take your annual salary and divide it by 2,080 – the number of work hours in a year – and multiply this by the number of hours missed due to your car accident injuries. 


If you are an independent contractor, freelancer, or a sole proprietor, then you are self-employed. When you are self-employed, you will want to claim lost income, rather than lost wages, and to figure out how much you are entitled to may take the expertise of a car accident lawyer. Although you are self-employed, you may still be required to submit documentation to support the income lost while recovering from your injuries, such as a 1099 form, invoices, or receipts.

Other Sources of Lost Income

Depending on your injury, the time you miss from work recovering may not be the only income that is impacted. Your injury could also impact future wages and your capacity to earn income. If your injury may prevent you from potential future earnings, your car accident lawyer will be able to help you calculate future losses based on your injury, age, employment history, education, and skills. 

Contact a Trusted Car Accident Lawyer

A Southern California car accident lawyer can be the difference in recovering lost wages and being out on the income you are entitled to. You shouldn’t have to lose wages due to someone else’s mistake, and at Steinberg Injury Lawyers, we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve so you can focus on your recovery. 

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case to see how we can help you move forward and get back on your feet.

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982
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