If you sustained injuries in a car accident and missed work as a result, can you recover compensation for lost wages? In a lost wage claim, you are essentially arguing that due to the car accident and resulting injuries, you missed out on work or other income opportunities. Below, we discuss how to recover lost wages from a car accident, as well as how an injury lawyer can help.
Who Can File a Lost Wage Claim?
In Texas, you can file a lost wage claim so long as you are less than 51% responsible for an accident. In Colorado, you must be less than 50% responsible for the accident.
You will need to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused you an injury that forced you to miss time from work.
Whose Insurance Pays for a Lost Wage Claim?
Both Texas and Colorado are tort states for car accident claims. This means that the driver who is more at fault than the other covers the costs related to the accident. The percentage of repayment they make depends on their percentage of fault. If you’re owed $10,000 in total damages and the other driver is 75% at fault, then you would recover $7,500. Their insurance would pay that amount directly to you.
If the other driver fled the scene of the accident or doesn’t carry insurance, you can file a claim on your own uninsured/underinsured insurance policy. If you carry personal injury protection insurance, you can also file a claim on your own policy.
How to Make a Lost Wages Claim
To recover lost wages from a car accident, the first thing you’ll have to do is prove your employment. You will need documentation from your employer that you’ve lost wages due to the car accident. If you are self-employed, you can use last year’s tax returns as evidence.
Likewise, you will need to prove that your injury was in fact the cause of your inability to work. Of course, if you broke your leg and you work at a warehouse, it’s fairly obvious that you wouldn’t be able to work until your leg was healed. But in other cases, you’ll need medical support for your claim. For example you broke your leg, but you work at a desk all day, the insurance company might claim that you should have been able to work during your recovery.
Sometimes, your doctor may not record the fact that they ordered you to stay home from work. They may instead give you an off-work slip. In any case, make sure you keep record of any slips or notes from your doctor that prove that your missed work was justified.
Aggravation of Pre-Existing Injuries
While you’ll need to prove that the car accident directly prevented you from doing your job, that does not mean that you can’t be compensated if a car accident aggravated a pre-existing problem. For instance, if you suffered a neck injury prior to the car accident, and your symptoms flare up, become debilitating, and prevent you from working, you can still recover the full amount of lost wages.
Sick Leave and Vacation Time
You are not required to use your sick leave or vacation time to supplement the wages you lost due to someone else’s negligence. You may be entitled to repayment of those lost wages even if you lose sick and vacation days while you’re recovering.
Calculating Lost Wages
Your lost wages are calculated on a per diem basis if you are forced to miss entire days from work. Your wages would be calculated per day, and then multiplied by the number of days you missed. If you are self-employed, the same holds true, though many self-employed individuals continue to work.
If your injuries lower your earning potential, you can still recover the difference from your productivity before the accident and after. You would have to establish what you earned before the accident and how much you’ve lost after the accident.
Learn More About How to Recover Lost Wages From a Car Accident
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is frustrating enough. Don’t add to the stress by trying to wrangle with insurance companies on your own. A car accident lawyer can help you with your car accident claim, including a lost wage claim, and maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation for your damages. Contact Brylak Law today to learn more about how we can help.