On the surface, calculating lost earnings seems simple. If you earn a set salary, you simply multiply your weekly salary by your weeks away from work. If you earn an hourly rate, you just multiply your lost hours by your wage. But much more goes into it than that.
On top of your hourly wage or salary, you likely earn substantial benefits from your employer. You must be compensated for all of this when collecting compensation under the Jones Act. Benefits may include health insurance, vision insurance, dental insurance, any 401k matching your employer offers, paid vacation, and your pension. Retirement benefits are especially important to calculate, as losing those initial investments can significantly affect the amount you have available come retirement time.
To calculate your lost wages for days you have already worked, calculate the value of the benefits you have lost. Your previous paystubs should include information on the cost of your health benefits, retirement contributions, and PTO. Figure out the weekly value of those benefits and add them to your weekly income, whether it’s salary or hourly.
Planning Ahead for Lost Future Income
While calculating lost wages for the time you’ve already spent off of work, figuring out your lost future wages is a bit more challenging. To start, you’ll likely want to be at maximum medical improvement (MMI) before you try to calculate this number. Until you know the long-term status of your injury, it’s impossible to know how that injury will affect your ability to earn a living.
As a baseline, you can look at what you currently earn and anticipate that you would have earned at least that much for the rest of your career had you not become injured. But that’s probably not enough.
Chances are good that you would not have stayed at your current income when you account for the cost of living increases, annual raises, and performance-based raises. Furthermore, you may have been promoted in the future had you not become injured. All of those income increases, which have the potential to grow your earnings considerably, are no longer available to you because of your injury. You should be able to recoup those losses under the Jones Act.
Calculating the actual value of lost future wages isn’t just a numbers game, however. This is why it’s important to work with a maritime injury lawyer who can help you get a fair estimate. A professional with expertise in offshore work can look at your career thus far and the career trajectory of someone in a similar position to calculate how much you should receive in lost future earnings.
Choose Fuquay Law Firm for Your Maritime Injury Claim
If you’re ready to start your maritime injury claim, the team at Fuquay Law Firm is here to help. The first step is setting up a consultation to discuss your injury in greater detail. Call us at 251-219-0329 or to schedule a consultation now.