The unexpected nature of car accidents means victims are typically unprepared for the financial strain often accompanying a collision. If you were recently involved in a car accident, you might face physical trauma and financial distress if you cannot work while healing from your injuries. You might struggle with mounting medical bills and lost earnings, but you should know you could be entitled to financial relief. This article explains how to claim lost wages from a car accident and how an attorney could help. Keep reading to learn more about how you can pursue what’s rightfully yours.
What Are Lost Wages?
The first step is to understand what lost wages entail. Lost wages represent the money you would have earned from your employment had you not been recovering from injuries from a car accident. Lost income includes missed work hours and any sick days or vacation time you used during the recovery period.
How Do I Gather Proof of Lost Income?
To successfully claim lost wages, proper documentation is critical. If you hire a car accident attorney to help you pursue compensation for lost income, they might ask you to gather the following:
- Pay stubs or wage statements from before the accident
- A letter from your employer detailing your position, hours worked, pay rate, and the time you had to take off due to the accident
- If you are self-employed, financial documents like invoices, receipts, or tax returns to prove your lost income
How Do I Calculate Lost Wages?
If you’re a salaried or hourly employee, calculating lost wages is typically straightforward – multiply the hours missed by your pay rate. You should also include compensation for overtime, sick days, and vacation time in the calculation.
The process is more complicated if you’re self-employed or work irregular hours. You may need to calculate your daily earnings by averaging your pay over a specific period, such as six months or a year, and multiply it by the days you missed. An experienced lawyer can help you calculate your lost wages, including any overtime, sick days, or vacation time owed.
Do Insurance Claims Cover Lost Wages?
Whether an insurance claim compensates you for lost wages often depends on where you live. An at-fault driver’s insurance company typically covers an injured driver’s lost wages in states that operate under a fault-based system. To seek compensation for lost income under this system, an injury victim would file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company, providing all necessary documentation. They should include a demand for lost wages in the demand letter.
In states that operate under a no-fault system, an injured driver will rely on their insurance policy to seek compensation for lost wages, regardless of who is at fault for an accident. Many no-fault states require motorists to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance covering medical bills and lost wages.
However, coverage varies from state to state, so speaking to an experienced car accident attorney is crucial to pursuing lost wages through an insurance claim. Be aware that insurance companies often aim to minimize payouts, so it’s essential to have a solid case.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me Claim Lost Wages?
Navigating the process of claiming lost wages can be overwhelming and challenging, especially when recovering from an accident. Insurance companies have teams of lawyers protecting their interests, so you need someone protecting yours. A seasoned car accident attorney will have experience helping clients recover lost wages after their accidents. Also, they’ll have knowledge of the intricacies of the law to advocate for your rights effectively. Remember, time is of the essence when claiming lost wages. Don’t delay seeking the compensation you deserve.
Can I File a Lawsuit for Lost Wages?
You may need to file a personal injury lawsuit if the insurance company refuses a fair settlement. At this point, having an experienced lawyer at your side becomes indispensable. A dedicated car accident attorney can work tirelessly to pursue the maximum compensation, taking your case to court if necessary. Accidents can be life-altering, but they should not compromise your financial security. Understanding how to claim lost wages is the first step toward financial recovery.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney at The Bruner Law Firm Today
If you need help claiming lost wages after a car accident, contact the experienced attorneys at The Bruner Law Firm today for a free consultation. For over 30 years, we have advocated for the rights of injury victims harmed in car accidents. We can help you pursue the compensation and accountability you need to move forward with your life. Call us at (850) 243-2222 or fill out our online form to get started.