Lost wages are an objective cornerstone of any claim resolution. If you’re trying to figure out the value of your case there are other factors to consider also, like the severity of your injury or how many years you have before retirement. Click HERE for more. But the starting place for every injury claim is this: How much did I lose in wages?
The concept of the calculation is straight forward. But the mathematics can get confusing. Let me break it down:
Basically, you first figure out how much time you lost. It might be more than one period of time. Then you enter your hourly rate. Then you make note of the average number of hours of overtime each week. With that, you can know your gross wage loss. But under the FELA, you are not entitled to your gross wage loss. You are only entitled to NET wage loss, meaning after reduction for taxes you would have normally paid on the earnings. Most railroad workers fall in the 25% tax bracket. So from your gross wage loss, you knock off 25%. That net number is your recoverable wage loss. That number is also the starting point for determining what you should recover for your injury.
However, I’ve designed a simple spreadsheet to do the work for you.
You can see from this screenshot that this railroad worker’s injury kept him out of work for two weeks straight. Over that period he lost $3,000 in wages. After taxes the loss is $2,250.
If you’re injury caused you to lose time over more than one period, like the day you were injured and then when you went out again for surgery, and/or if you had to retire early, you can enter those separate periods. This spreadsheet can accommodate up to three separate periods of lost time.
Just plug in your numbers: Out of Work date, Return to Work date, hourly wage rate and average weekly overtime hours and the spreadsheet will magically calculate your losses. You can use this information to help you decide if you want to file your claim on your own or hire a FELA attorney to handle your case.
Photo by Marc Wietzke