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What Can Be Included as Lost Wages?
Injuries sustained in a car accident can keep you from going to work or earning the money you would have if you had not been injured. If you have been injured in a car accident and cannot work for even a short period of time, you may have a claim for lost income in addition to pain and suffering. Lost income can include, lost wages for time missed during work, lost earning capacity if you have sustained a long term disability, lost opportunities such as missing a job interview or job promotion. Also included are having to use sick leave, vacation time, or being reprimanded or demoted due to your injuries.
How Do You Calculate Lost Wages?
You will need to calculate your lost wages and this is calculated by taking the amount of money you lost due to being unable to work. You should include any sick and vacation days that you had to use in your calculations.
If you have an irregular salary, are self-employed, or work on commission, some evidence of your prior earning will be helpful such as a copy of your W-2s and previous year's tax returns.
If you are paid an hourly wage, you would multiply your hourly wage by the number of hours you missed work. If you are a salaried employee, you would divide your salary to determine how much you make in a single day and then multiply that number by the days you missed work.
The exception to making a lost wages claim would be if you were unemployed at the time of the accident and your unemployment was not due to your injuries sustained in the accident. However, if you still perform functions for the benefit of your household you might still have a claim. For example, a stay-at-home housewife and mother who is injured may have to hire other people to care for her children, clean her house, etc. These are losses that can and should be claimed due to the injury.
What Documentation is Required?
Of course, evidence and proof of lost wages will be needed to make a claim. Any documentation that you have to show your lost wages will be helpful evidence. Some examples of documentation are: a letter from your employer stating that you were unable to work due to your injuries including specific dates and information about your salary supporting your claim. Other sources of documentation can include a letter from your doctor describing your injuries and how long the injuries kept you out of work. Other things for your physician to include in the letter are your treatments, prescriptions and medical bills.
In order to make a claim it is helpful to be able to provide specific dates that you missed work and why you were forced to miss those days. Were you seeking treatment for your injuries? Did you have a doctor's appointment, physical therapy, or were you in too much pain to go to work that day?
Car insurance companies will often use their experience to limit the settlement amount, but you can counter that experience advantage with representation from a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer will use his or her experience to level the playing field, increasing the odds of receiving a fair settlement.
A personal injury attorney can help guide you through the process of a wage loss claim. Attorneys can advocate for you to get as much as possible on your claim.
If you have been injured in a car accident and have lost wages, call the Traub Law Office and let us help you recover those lost wages.