How to Recover Lost Wages After a Car Accident in Massachusetts

Car accidents are expensive in addition to being physically painful. One of the most significant ways people lose money after an accident is by missing out on work and valuable income.

After a car crash, you might be badly hurt and need to take off away from your job to rest and recover. You can claim the value of lost wages and income in your economic damages. How we calculate these damages depends on the nature of your income. Various factors might affect how we account for lost earnings. For example, if your injuries prevented you from returning to work but not from finding other work, your damages might be offset. You can speak to an attorney about your accident to determine the extent of your damages, including lost wages.

Speak with our Massachusetts personal injury attorneys to schedule a free case review by calling our team at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407.

How a Car Accident Might Cause You to Lose Income in Massachusetts

Perhaps the biggest reason people lose income and earnings after a vehicle crash is they are too injured to return to work. This goes for people who perform physical work and those who might work in less physically demanding positions. Recovering from serious injuries is rarely easy or painless, and it is better to focus on your health, even if it means you cannot work.

Another possibility is that the car accident somehow damaged your professional reputation, costing you business or job opportunities. For example, if you drive for your job and are involved in a serious car accident, your reputation as a good driver might be tarnished. Your boss might cut back on your job duties or hours, and you might lose income.

If you are self-employed or the sole proprietor of your business, the business essentially shuts down for as long as you cannot work. Even just a few days of resting might lead to a significant drop in business and income, especially if there is nobody else to help you pick up the slack.

Calculating Damages for Lost Wages or Earnings After a Massachusetts Car Accident

When assessing damages for lost wages, it is important to understand how you earn a living so our Boston car accident lawyers can accurately estimate how much income you have lost. Not all income is earned in the same way, and some people make a living in unsteady or unpredictable work.

Salary or Hourly Wages

If your regular income is based on hourly wages or an annual salary, it might be simpler to calculate the worth of your lost wages. For example, suppose your regular income is worth $2,000 each week, and you unfortunately miss 5 months of work because of a car accident. That is about 20 weeks’ worth of income lost, and our calculations should come to $40,000.

Even with a steady or predictable income stream, it might be challenging to calculate your damages if your missed workdays were not consecutive. Missing a day here and a day there might not seem like a lot, but they might add up to a significant amount of lost wages.

Freelance Work

Not everyone works a steady job, and many have income from non-traditional sources. For example, you might do a lot of freelance or gig work. You might even do this kind of work in addition to a regular 9 to 5 job as a side hustle. If you missed freelance or gig work opportunities because of a car accident, we can determine how much money you likely lost.

To determine how much income you lost, we need to know how much you normally get paid for freelance work and how often you get job opportunities. For example, a freelance graphic artist might get 1 to 2 big jobs per month. While we cannot precisely say how many jobs you might have missed out on and how much you would have gotten paid, we at least need an accurate idea.


People who work on commission get paid a certain cut of the business they bring into their company. For example, a person working at a car dealership might get a percentage of each vehicle sale they make. We would need to know how many cars you sell per week or month to determine your lost wages.

We should also consider seasonal work. Due to the nature of certain jobs, people sometimes make more money during specific times of the year. For example, restaurants with ocean views probably make much more money during the summer when tourists like to visit the beach. If you were injured in a car accident during your busy season, we can factor that into your damages.

Factors That Affect Damages for Lost Wages After a Vehicle Accident in Massachusetts

Besides how you earn a living, numerous other factors may factor heavily into how we calculate your damages. Some important factors to consider include whether you could perform other kinds of work, if you found a new job, or if your time off was paid.

Ability to Work

If you were so badly hurt that you could not perform any work and had to take an extended leave, your damages would likely be higher. However, this is not always the case. If you could not perform certain aspects of your job but could still do others, you might still have been capable of working, but in a lesser capacity. As such, you might have still been earning wages, but just a lesser amount.

A New Job

While you might have been unable to perform your normal work duties, there might be other jobs you can still do. For example, a car accident might leave you unable to go back to work as a nurse, but you might have been able to find other work that does not require you to work on your feet.

The defense will likely argue that you were able to work a different job but refused to do so, and you should not be able to claim lost income. We must refute these claims by showing that were not able to obtain new work even after due diligence to do so or that new work would not have paid as much as your previous job.

Paid Time Off

We must also consider whether your employer covered your time away from work. After a car accident, many employers allow injured employees to take a certain amount of paid leave. Perhaps you used a combination of sick days and accrued vacation time to take off work while still collecting a paycheck. In such a case, we would have to subtract any paid time away from your damages.

Speak to Our Massachusetts Car Accident Attorneys Today

Speak with our Malden car accident attorneys to schedule a free case review by calling our team at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407.