Taking some time off work is usually something people look forward to. You spend so much time planning what you’re going to do with those vacation days you’ve got.
But when you’re in a car accident and have to be out of the office and miss work unexpectedly, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to recover lost wages from a car accident with injury.
Dealing with a serious injury after an accident is stressful enough as is. Trying to recover damages on top of it can just make it worse. We’re going to share how to file a claim of lost wages from car accident with injury and how to collect lost wages.
How Do I Calculate My Lost Wages After a Car Accident?
Let’s start out first by determining what exactly lost wages are. Any pay or money you lost out on because of an injury from the car accident you were involved in is lost wages.
In addition to the lost income, there is also lost compensation and lost earning capacity that you may encounter because of a motor vehicle accident. Property damage due to the accident is a separate calculation and not part of determining your lost income.
This might sound pretty easy, but it can be as simple as calculating how much you get paid per hour and how many hours of work you’ve missed because of your injuries from the car accident.
So if you make $15 per hour and have missed 40 hours of work, your lost wages would be $600.
If you’re a salaried employee, take your total salary divided by 2,080. That is the number of hours you’ll work in a year at 40 hours per week.
Things can get a little more complicated if you work a service or commission job where your income fluctuates or you receive tips like a bartender or server, or pay depends on you being at work as in a sales position.
Don’t forget to include any bonuses or other incentivized pay you may have missed out on because you weren’t able to work. Having proof that you’ve previously earned these incentives can be helpful to have this income considered as part of your missing wages.
Self-employed accident victims may also have a harder time verifying lost wages because of the accident. You can use tax returns, bank statements, and canceled appointments, or loss of work to show how much was financially lost. Don’t think just because you’re self-employed, you can’t be compensated for lost income.
Future Lost Wages
When calculating your amount of lost wages, make sure you also account for the future time you’ll miss because of your injuries. Speaking with your health care providers can help you determine what to expect based on your current and future expected injuries and treatment time.
Other Benefits and Compensation
Besides being paid to perform tasks at your job, you may also contribute to other benefits your employer offers like health care, 401k, or accruing additional time off. This is lost compensation.
When agreeing to a settlement amount, car accident lawyer will consider these things when looking at the overall settlement offer.
Temporary or Permanent Disability
If you were so seriously injured that your injury prevents you from performing the duties of your previous job or could not work at all because of the injuries sustained from the accident, those wages will need to be accounted for as well.
Disability doesn’t mean you’re unable to work. It can also include having to take a lower-paying position because of the injuries you suffered. This is also called lost earning capacity.
How Do I Prove Lost Wages Because of My Injuries?
You’ll need lots of documentation in order to get the most compensation. Gather things like the following to help determine and prove your lost wages:
- Medical records. Your medical records will show the injuries you’ve sustained and the severity of them.
- Letter from your healthcare provider. In addition to your medical records, having a letter from your healthcare providers explaining your injuries and the impact they have on your ability to perform the duties of your job can impact the amount of compensation you could receive.
- Information from your employer. They’ll need to show that you’ve missed work, can provide a position description, and confirm your pay rate for validation.
Besides providing copies of your medical records, your car insurance company may also ask or require you to have an independent medical examination. This ensures the injuries are as described in your medical records.
The auto insurance company may also have specific forms that need to be completed to verify:
- Your position
- Pay rate
- Job duties
This is in addition to the documentation you submit with your personal injury claims. Insurance companies all have a unique process to have your claim reviewed and approved, so there’s no one set of forms to complete or way to file your claim.
How Do I Recover My Lost Wages?
Once you’ve gathered the information to determine the amount of lost wages based on your injury, the next step is to file a lost wages claim with your own insurance company.
In Florida and several other states, car accidents are considered no-fault. As part of your own car insurance policy, you have a Personal Injury Protection policy or PIP insurance. This covers your personal injuries because of a car accident regardless of which driver is found to be at fault.
These policies may or may not cover all of your lost wages as part of the personal injury settlement as they’re in a place to help with medical bills. PIP policies pay 60% of your normal wages up to $10,000 when you’ve been injured in a car accident and need to miss work. If you make more than that or have extensive medical bills, that $10,000 limit can be reached quickly.
If the other driver was at fault for the auto accident, their insurance may be liable to pay for the other 40% of your wages through their liability bodily injury coverage which is not covered by your PIP policy. You may need to consider legal action if the at-fault driver is uninsured.
What Happens When You File a Personal Injury Claim
When you file a personal injury claim to pay for your lost income and medical expenses, an insurance adjuster will review your insurance claim. They then determine the amount of compensation you will be offered.
Insurance companies want to settle with you quickly. Even if you sustained serious car accident injuries, they want to settle for the lowest amount possible. To receive the most compensation, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit. Many lawyers offer a free consultation to learn about your car accident case. During a consultation, they can see how they can help you recover lost compensation.
Be sure before you agree to anything at all verbally or in writing that you fully understand it. Consulting an attorney can be beneficial to be sure you’re getting the compensation you deserve based on your experience.
Should I Hire an Attorney to Help Me Recover Lost Wages?
To be sure you’re getting all the compensation you need and deserve, hire an experienced personal injury attorney. We will demand compensation for the injured parties. We can use our experience with other car accident cases to get you the most compensation possible.
Your attorney will help collect medical reports, statements, and other evidence to present the strongest case possible. They can also contact the at-fault party for their insurance information to submit a claim to them before moving forward with legal action.
Besides recovering lost wages, your attorney may also get the compensation you’re legally entitled to for used paid time off, vacation days, or sick time you took while recovering from your injuries.
Before agreeing to any kind of settlement or offer from the insurance company, it’s best to have an experienced personal injury lawyer or car accident attorney review it. We can make sure it’s fair based on your experience.
Your attorney will work to get you a fair settlement and not leave you in an unfavorable financial position. From your free case consultation to resolving your personal injury case, it could be months or even years. Depending on your situation, your case may not have a quick resolution.
Legal services shouldn’t be something you’re worried about using during your personal injury case. An experienced attorney can help be sure you receive a fair settlement based on your injuries.
Your attorney can help you manage your financial situation during the litigation process so you don’t fall behind on bills or miss payments. The last thing you want is to face financial hardship. If this is a concern for you, be sure to ask your attorney during the free consultation.
Trusted Florida Car Accident Attorney
Denmon Pearlman is a law firm that handles Florida car accident and personal injury cases for car accident victims. Our law firm offers a free, no-obligation, legal consultation to car wreck victims, so call us today at (813) 694-4130.
The professionals at the Denmon Pearlman law firm will take the time to listen to your personal injury case to be sure that your attorney understands all the details of your accident. Your attorney will work to recover compensation and economic damages, so you receive everything you’re entitled to under the law.