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If you get injured at work, and you file a claim with a workers compensation lawyer, you may need to file for compensation for lost wages. While it seems that this figure might be easy to figure out, it’s not always that easy. Plus, insurance companies may try to trick people into accepting less money than they are entitled to. It’s important to be aware of their tricks, and to also have an idea of how much you should be compensated.

What Counts As Lost Wage?

Lost wage may not only be the simple hourly or salaried rate you’d be paid if you were at work. You are
entitled to gross pay, not net pay, but you may also be entitled to compensation for sick or personal time you would have accrued while you were away from work. If you work in a compensation-based job such as sales, insurers require there be proof that a sale would have been made were you able to be at work in order to figure compensation numbers. You may also be able to draw on history of earnings and averages to determine what you’re entitled. Tip income is only used for calculating lost wages if you claimed the tips on your tax return. Unfortunately, many people who work in tip-based jobs do not report their tips, and they cannot use tips to figure into legal compensation.  You may even be entitled to wages that could be considered “lost opportunity income,” for instance if you were supposed to go to a job interview and can somehow obtain proof that the injury prevented you from doing so and getting the job. This is harder to prove, though.

How to Obtain Compensation

If you want to start a case to seek compensation for lost wages, you will need to work with a workers comp lawyer. They will be able to compile all of the necessary documents to prove how much money you are entitled to—things like your tax forms from previous years, as documentation is what really shows how much you should have earned when you were forced to miss work.  You will need to provide the lawyer with as much detail as you can about the amount of compensation you are seeking and why, as well as provide doctor’s notices detailing why you could not go to work. 

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  • Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys. A description of the selection methodology can be found at

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