Q: I’m self-employed. How will the income I’ve lost due to my vehicle collision be calculated?
The popularity of self-employment continues to grow. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15 million people were self-employed during 2015. Just like employees, self-employed individuals injured in vehicle accidents are entitled to receive compensation.
Typically, employees can easily calculate lost wages by looking at their paycheck stubs or W-2, but self-employed workers have more complications establishing proof of lost income.
In any personal injury case, victims are entitled to receive compensation for economic losses already sustained, as well as any anticipated future losses.
A self-employed individual’s lost income refers to the earnings that he or she would receive had the accident never occurred. This amount can be established by providing proof of past income, such as tax returns, invoices, work orders, and ledgers. Loss of future earnings, also known as lost earning capacity, can be established through upcoming contracts, lost business opportunities, and the loss of goodwill.
Proving Self-Employment Income
For self-employed individuals, establishing proof of lost income can be challenging, since their income is often irregular. To prove the extent of lost self-employment income, injury victims must establish the amount they would have earned from the date of the accident until the moment of full recovery.
Various documents—including 1099 forms, tax returns, business invoices, and receipts—can be used to support the injury claim. If an injury victim’s self-employment income has been consistent, this documentation may be sufficient.
However, if income is irregular, losses may be estimated by calculating prior profits, upcoming contracts, and missed opportunities. A personal injury attorney can gather together this evidence, and may also hire a forensic economist.
You Need an Attorney
If you’re self-employed and injured in a vehicle accident, an experienced attorney can help you calculate current losses as well as demonstrate the economic opportunities you've lost due to your injuries. To learn more, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.