| Read Time: 4 minutes | Car Accident
lost wages from car accident

After a car accident, you need time to heal from your injuries. So, it’s common to have to take time off from work.

However, the loss in income can put a serious strain on your family’s financial situation. Georgia law allows car accident victims to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for the losses they incurred from their injuries.

One of the things you can get compensation for is lost wages from a car accident. 

If you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover your lost income.

Contact the experienced Atlanta, Georgia car accident lawyers at MG Law at (770) 988-5252 or fill out our online form and let us help you get the compensation you need and deserve.

We offer free consultations.

How Can You Claim Lost Wages from a Car Accident? 

You may wonder how to claim lost wages from a car accident. You can claim your lost wages and other losses—like medical expenses—by filing a claim demanding compensation from the negligent party who caused the accident. Your lawyer will know who to send the demand letter to and how to follow up with negotiations, or, if negotiations fail, they can bring the case to trial.

What Is the Difference Between Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity?

Loss of wages and loss of earning capacity both concern financial loss. However, they are separate concepts and it’s helpful to know the differences.

Loss of Wages

Lost wages refer to the income you lost because of the time you took off work to heal from your injuries.

Lost wages include the following:

  • Salary,
  • Hourly wages,
  • Self-employment income,
  • Bonuses, and
  • Commissions.

For example, if you missed two weeks of work because of your injuries, and you earn $1,500 a week, then you have $3,000 of lost wages. Your lawyer knows how to add up all of your losses to come up with a fair compensation value.

Loss of Earning Capacity

Earning capacity refers to the ability to earn income. While the loss of income deals with the actual income you lost while recovering from your injuries, your loss of earning capacity concerns the loss of future income. This is much harder to calculate. Lost wages are relatively straightforward. You simply take a pay stub for a week and multiply that times the number of weeks you were out of work. It is a direct mathematical equation in most cases.

However, it is harder to evaluate and prove future income, as it is challenging to predict the future! But you are allowed to take an educated guess at what would likely have happened in the future and come up with a number if your future earning capacity has been negatively impacted. 

For instance, suppose you are on track for a promotion before the crash but now, you are no longer eligible because your injuries mean you can no longer perform the job. Or suppose that, even if you weren’t necessarily “on track” for a promotion, it is likely that it would have happened if you had not been injured. This involves hypothetical situations, but if your lawyer can make a compelling case that your future income capacity has been short-circuited—you could receive compensation for that loss.

How Are Lost Wages Proven?

You generally prove lost wages with documents outlining your salary. Insurance companies will refute any unsubstantiated claims of lost wages. If you are unable to prove your wages, you will not be able to recover compensation. Therefore, you must be able to lay out proof of the wages you would have received had you not been injured in the car accident.

 These documents include the following:

  • Tax records,
  • Pay stubs,
  • Employment contracts, and 
  • Other financial statements.

Be sure to gather all the documents possible. Our seasoned car accident lawyers at MG Law will use them to provide evidence of your loss of income.

How Are Lost Wages Calculated?

Your wages may be easy or hard to calculate, depending on your type of employment. 

You must provide a medical reason, preferably ordered by a doctor, for every day that you did not work. Suppose a doctor ordered you to take six weeks off work for your broken leg to heal. Instead, you took eight weeks off work. Unless you can show a medical reason why you took the extra two weeks off, you probably can only recover six weeks of lost wages.


For example, suppose you earn $3,000 every month. You were injured in a car accident and suffered a serious brain bleed. Your doctor ordered you to take two months off work. You will likely be able to recover $3,000 for each month you took off work, for a total of $6,000 in lost wages.

However, if you take three months off work, you probably won’t be able to recover the remaining $3,000 without a medical explanation. 

What If I’m Self-Employed?

Note this calculation for lost wages is easy for a salaried or hourly wage employee. But, this can get complicated for self-employed workers and independent contractors. 

Because of the fluctuating nature of their job, it may be hard to prove loss of income. A steady income for one month may not guarantee the same amount of income in the next month. Further, a self-employed worker whose business has been operating for decades will have an easier time calculating loss of income than a new start-up business that’s only been operating for a few months.

Our lawyers at MG Law know that calculations are complicated, especially for self-employed individuals. We have decades of experience in handling these cases and know how to provide insurers with the evidence they need. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Loss of Wages Lawsuit?

Suing for loss of income has a time limit. Like all personal injury cases, Georgia law requires car accident victims to file their lawsuit within two years of the accident. Once this two-year deadline passes, you can no longer file a car accident claim.

Contact MG Law for a Free Case Evaluation

MG Law Founder Michael Geoffroy is a Georgia native dedicated to helping personal injury victims and serving his community. With over two decades of legal experience, he has been recognized for numerous awards, including the Top 40 Under 40 and Rising Star. 

Our legal team will dedicate our time and resources to constructing your case and fighting for the compensation you deserve. Don’t try to handle this alone. Suing for lost wages can be challenging. Leave the heavy lifting to us. 

Reach out to the seasoned car accident attorneys at MG Law at (770) 988-5252 to secure the compensation you rightfully deserve. Let us guide you on the path to justice.

Author Photo

Amer Ahmad is a trial lawyer at MG Law. He represents seriously injured clients who are going through some of the most difficult moments of their lives. Amer’s practice includes representing families in wrongful death cases and individuals seriously injured by motor vehicle accidents, negligently maintained premises, and defective products. As a former insurance attorney who knows the insurance companies’ playbook, he helps MG Law clients even the playing field and avoid insurance tricks. Due to his experience and results, Amer has been named a Georgia Rising Star by Super Lawyers and Atlanta Magazine from 2019 until 2024. Only 2.5% of all lawyers in Georgia are selected as Rising Stars.