After the Accident: Making a Lost Wages Claim in a Personal Injury Case

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Recovering from an accident is a difficult process that can get dispiriting. It can also be expensive, with all the hospital expenses and property loss and damage. One of the ways to ease this burden is to demand damages or financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and even pain and suffering.

For example, in a personal injury case such as a car collision due to the driver’s negligence, you have the right to make a lost wages claim for all the days you missed work because of the incident.

What can you recover in a lost wages claim?

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In a personal injury case, lost wages are the income you would have earned had you not been in an accident. This covers the period from the actual date of the accident to all the days you missed work while you’re still undergoing treatment for your physical injuries. This means that if you broke your leg in a car crash and missed two months of work because you had to undergo therapy, you can reimburse the amount you would have earned in those two months.

Other disabling injuries, such as psychological effects, like trauma and PTSD, can also be grounds for a lost wages claim if you prove they’re severe enough to cause you to miss work.

You can make a claim for lost wages whether you’re a full-time or part-time employee, self-employed, or in a regular or seasonal employment contract.

Whereas lost income is easy to calculate, future losses can be trickier to compute. Depending on your case, your settlement offer may include damages for lost earning capacity, which means the effects of the injury that diminished your ability to work, and lost compensation or the other financial benefits, such as bonuses, sales commissions, and others.

How do you make a lost wages claim?

For a car accident case, your options for recovering lost wages are: 1) make an appeal to your insurance company, 2) make an appeal to the driver at fault’s insurance company, or 3) take the case to court. Whichever method you choose, it’s better if you file your claim toward the end of your recovery process. This way, your wage losses are easier to compute since they’re in the past, instead of estimating the losses you would have incurred moving forward.

Whether you plan to take your case to court or just talk to insurance companies, it’s better to have an experienced personal injury lawyer represent you. Even if you don’t file a lawsuit, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf to ensure that the settlement you receive is fair.

When you file your lost wages claim, secure a doctor’s note that details all of your injuries, including the seemingly minor ones. This should also include the number of days the doctor recommended that you take time off of work. Another important document is your wage records that show your income, such as paychecks or tax returns. If you’re self-employed, use past invoices that show the amount of money you normally make in a month or week.

Lastly, strengthen your claim by getting a letter from your employer. This will confirm the details you presented. The letter should include your pay level, the number of hours you work each pay period, and the days you didn’t make it to work.

Personal injury laws are meant to protect you in case another person’s negligence causes you harm. Knowing and asserting your rights can help you recover and reclaim the losses you incurred from accidents.