How can I recover lost wages from a car accident?

Being involved in a car accident can mean getting hurt, having ongoing medical treatment, and fixing or replacing your vehicle. However, for many people, the result of an accident also means that they’ve missed work, and therefore, may not receive their wages.

If you’ve missed time from work due to an accident, you may be eligible for compensation. You can achieve this a few ways:

  • submitting a lost wages claim with your insurance company
  • submitting a lost wages claim with the other driver’s insurance company
  • filing a lawsuit against the other driver

What Are Lost Wages?

Lost wages are time that you missed at work due to a car accident. For example, if you broke your arm as a result, and therefore weren’t able to do your job, then part of your claim would be the amount of money you’d have earned working if you hadn’t broken your arm.

Other examples of lost wages can include mental aftereffects of the accident, such as PTSD from the experience, or can include the time that you spend attending aftercare physical treatments, such as chiropractor appointments or physical or occupational therapies.

Calculating your lost wages

Generally, your employer will tabulate the time you missed work as a result of the accident, and then the amount that they would have paid you for the time. Then, your lawyer will add that to the amount of money you’re seeking for damages.

How Do I Submit a Lost Wages Claim?

The easiest way to submit a lost wages claim is to have your personal injury attorney include your last few paychecks as part of the lawsuit documents. This, plus verification from an employer, is often the proof that a judge needs.

However, you may be asked to provide additional proof if you’re planning to submit a claim for diminished earning capacity, as well.

What Kind of Compensation is Available?

There are a few different types of lost wages compensation. These can include both the hourly work and any regularly scheduled overtime that you work, plus any bonuses or commissions that you might have been able to earn. Other types of compensation can include the sick, vacation, or paid-time-off (PTO) that you used while you were recovering from your injury.

Then there are “perks” that may not be a direct payment from your employer, but may be part of the settlement claim. For example, if a company cell phone, gym membership, or free lunches are part of your employment package, and you can’t take advantage of these perks because of your injury, these can be included, too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I claim lost wages if I’m self-employed?

If you’re self-employed, or if you derive your primary source of income through your own business, then you’ll have to submit records of your earnings and document the time that you missed, and therefore the money that you lost out on. For example, a freelance web designer may charge a certain hourly rate for clients, and then use that hourly rate to determine how much wages he’s actually lost.

What if I can’t work at all after an accident?

If you can no longer perform the tasks of your job because of the accident, or if you are unable to apply for a promotion because the accident injury caused you to be unable to do the job. You may also be entitled to a long-term disability settlement. The judge will look at your earning potential and how the injury affected it, and determine the dollar amount from that.

What if the accident aggravates a previous injury, and I cannot work because of that?

To claim lost wages from exacerbation of a prior injury, you’ll have to prove that the accident directly caused the injury to worsen. This can be done by having a doctor diagnose the cause of the aggravated injury, and submit written medical testimony to that effect.

Have Your Lost Time at Work Due To An Accident?

If you’ve lost wages from a car accident, you may be able to receive compensation. Your personal injury lawyer will work with you to gather the documentation you need to file a claim, from initial filing all the way through settlement.