Filing a Personal Injury Claim When Self-Employed: Lost Income Damages

If you're self-employed, it is a little more difficult to establish your future lost income damages in personal injury claim.

A major part of most significant personal injury claims is recovering money for income lost due to related injuries. How do you calculate this loss if your income is irregular, as it often is for self-employed people? The answer is: documentation, documentation, and more documentation.

Documenting Your Losses

In any personal injury case, you’re entitled to recover compensation for all economic losses you’ve already suffered, and for those economic losses you can reasonably expect to suffer in the future because of the accident, your resulting injuries, and the medical treatment necessitated by your injuries. That includes your past lost income and any income you’ll lose out on in the future.

But as with any other aspect of a personal injury claim, you’ll need to provide proof of your losses. For a salaried person who works for someone else, it’s pretty easy. But for someone like you, whose income may not be as steady, there are challenges.

Estimating Lost Future Income

If you’ve been self-employed for a while, you probably have all kinds of ancillary proof of what your income has been in the past -- income tax returns, work orders, invoices, ledgers, and other accounting documents. Gather these documents together and use them to get an idea of what your median income has been in the past for a certain measure of time (a week, a month, or even a year). That would be the starting point for proof of your future lost income.

Of course, if you’ve got concrete proof of work that you already have lined up – maybe a particularly lucrative contract that you’re not going to be able to perform on because of your injuries -- bring that to the table too.

You May Need Expert Help

Especially in cases where you have suffered significant injuries that will impact your ability to support yourself, you may want to discuss your case with an experienced injury attorney. In many cases, your attorney will want to bring in an economic expert witness to solidify the lost income aspect of your injury claim.

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