Can I Be Reimbursed for Lost Wages After an Accident?
If you get injured in an accident, it can impact your life in many different ways. For example, your injuries may take you out of work and force you to miss wages that your family needs. With a personal injury claim, you may be reimbursed for lost wages, as well as for your lost capacity to earn in the future. You or a lawyer will need to prove a few elements, however, to recover the costs of a lost paycheck.
Elements of an Accident Case
You may be entitled to financial compensation for your accident-related losses, including lost wages, if one or more parties caused your injuries. If you were injured in a car accident, for example, you or your attorney will need to establish that the other driver did something wrong and that this is what caused the collision. In general, four elements must be demonstrated to recover financial compensation for an accident:
- Duty of care. The defendant’s legal or ethical duty to treat you in a certain way.
- Breach of duty. An action or default that went outside of the duty of care.
- Damages. Compensable losses suffered, including lost wages.
- Causation. A direct link between the breach of duty and your damages.
If your lawyer can prove these elements as more likely to be true than not true using clear and convincing evidence (a preponderance of the evidence), you may be eligible for financial compensation for your lost wages, overtime, bonuses, tips, commission, lost employment opportunities, work benefits and future earnings – in addition to your medical bills and property damage repairs.
How to Prove Your Lost Wages
Collecting compensation for lost wages after an accident requires documentary evidence that the accident or injury interfered with your ability to do your job. You must prove that you suffered this type of economic loss, as well as the amount in which you are seeking financial reimbursement. This often takes evidence such as:
- Medical records proving the extent of your injuries
- A letter from your doctor
- A letter from your employer
- Employment records
- Pay stubs, tax documents and other proof of income
- Proof of self-employment income, if applicable
- Bank account statements
Even if you had paid time off, medical leave or vacation time paying your wages while you were in the hospital or in recovery, you may be entitled to reimbursement through a personal injury case. The more documentation that you have proving your lost wages and employment benefits, the greater your odds of obtaining fair financial compensation.
Don’t Forget Lost Future Capacity to Earn
As the injured victim of an accident, you may also be entitled to reimbursement for the lost wages you will experience in the future. If your injury is disabling enough to take you out of work in the foreseeable future – either temporarily or permanently – you can claim the lost capacity to earn as a damage on your personal injury case. This refers to the amount of wages, earnings and employment benefits that you most likely would have received in the future had your accident not happened.
If you can return to work in a limited capacity, such as at a different job or part-time, lost earnings may be calculated by subtracting what you currently make from what you used to make before your accident. If you cannot return to work in any capacity because of a disability, you could recover the full value of your lost future wages. You need evidence such as employment records and medical records to prove the lost capacity to earn.
The safest way to ensure that you get fully reimbursed for all of your current and future lost wages and employment benefits is to hire a personal injury lawyer in Lowell to represent you during an accident claim. Contact the Merrimack Valley Injury Lawyers today.