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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 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.


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