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How to Prove Lost Wages If You’re Self-Employed

August 18, 2019

by Donaldson & Weston

personal injury lawyer

Medical bills can add up quickly after a serious accident, but lost wages often account for a considerable portion of a personal injury victim’s total damages. Fortunately, claimants can seek compensation for any lost income and lost earning capacity caused by their injuries. To recover a fair settlement, however, they need strong evidence to prove the value of these damages.

For claimants who are classified as employees, calculating lost wages can be fairly straightforward and may only require employment contracts, paystubs, and income statements. For those who are self-employed, though, proving lost wages poses certain challenges.

If you don’t receive regular paychecks, your attorney may use the following kinds of documentation to prove lost income:

1. 1099 Forms

1099 forms will show how much you make from your primary clients. If you have other sources of income that aren’t documented in a 1099, you’ll have to gather additional documentation to incorporate those losses into the settlement calculations. Such documentation may include statements from your bank, PayPal, and other financial institutions.

2. Active Contracts

If you had to pause any ongoing projects following the accident, your attorney will want to see their corresponding contracts. You may be entitled to compensation for upcoming work that you’re no longer able to complete due to your injuries.

If your income has been increasing gradually, it’s especially important that your attorney is able to review all active contracts. Otherwise, it will be difficult to account for all income that you are reasonably certain to have earned if the accident had not happened.

3. Balance Sheets

Since you generate your own balance sheets and income reports, the opposing party is unlikely to consider them reliable, unless they correspond to other documents that have been produced or at least signed by third parties. However, they can be used to corroborate lost wages that are proven using other documentation.

What Other Damages Can I Pursue Besides Lost Income?

In addition to lost wages, personal injury claimants in Florida can pursue the following damages regardless of their employment status:

  • Pain and suffering;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Loss of enjoyment in life;
  • Medical expenses;
  • Lost of future earning capacity;
  • Home care;
  • Domestic help;
  • Child care;
  • Alternative transportation;
  • Home and vehicle modifications; and
  • Property damage.

If your spouse died or suffered a serious injury, you may be able to pursue compensation for loss of consortium, which refers to the loss of comfort, companionship, affection, sexual relationship, solace, fellowship, and society.

If the at-fault party’s misconduct was particularly egregious, exemplary damages may also be available. These awards may be warranted in cases that involve gross negligence or intentional misconduct.