Accidents, no matter what kind, can lead to injuries that might cause you to skip work. Depending on the time you cannot work, you may end up losing a lot of money in the form of lost wages. But there is a way to claim this lost income and get back at least some of it. Not many people know about this and are unaware of how they can prove lost income.
Lost Wages After an Accident Explained
Lost wages include any money or income that you lose due to an injury or accident. It is the income you may have earned if you had not been injured and had continued to work. It covers the period between the time you got injured and the time you took to get treatment, heal, and recuperate from the injury. In some cases, if you have suffered serious or life-threatening injuries because of which you cannot get back to your old job, then even that is taken into consideration when determining lost wages. You will be able to claim these lost wages in court if you can prove that the injury caused you to lose your income.
Most of the time, “lost compensation” and “lost earning capacity” will be counted as different things. Lost earning capacity will include any disability leading to your inability to do any work. Lost compensation will consist of any wages lost and other benefits like bonuses, insurance, etc., that you may have got if you had not been injured in the incident.
How Do I Prove Lost Wages?
There are different ways to prove lost wages in court. You can submit the following documents and prove the same:
You would have sustained physical injuries because of which you may miss work and hence lose income. One way to prove this lost income is by submitting a doctor’s note about your physical injuries or a disability slip that will have details like the type of injuries you have and the recommended time off work because of your injuries.
One of the simplest ways to prove lost wages is by providing pay stubs of the time period before you got injured. The lack of income on the stubs after the injury will prove that you lost wages due to it. This can include the prior year’s bonus information.
W-2(s) or Other Tax Returns
If you don’t have your pay stubs available with you, then the next best thing to submit is your W-2(s) or your tax returns from the previous year. If you are self-employed and don’t work with any company, you can submit your previous year’s tax returns and other documents like invoices, bank records, or other types of correspondence in court to prove how much you might have earned, if not for the injuries.
Letter From The Employer
If you are employed with a company, you will have to submit a letter from your employer besides the paystubs and other tax documents. This is required to confirm details like how long you were absent from your work, the number of hours you work for every pay period, and your pay level. This will help the court determine whether the injury really affected your income or not.
Submitting a Claim for Lost Wages
Most people can do any of the following to claim lost wages after an accident:
- Request your insurance company to pay for lost wages
- Speak to the opposite party’s insurance company if their client was responsible for the injury
- File a lawsuit for personal injury against the responsible person. Most lawyers will recommend waiting till you are almost done with your treatment and close to recovery before filing the lost wages claim (as the damages are higher).
You should know about everything covered in the insurance document before filing a lost wages claim. In most cases, the amount you can claim will be dependent on the kind of insurance policy you or the opposite party has. There are multiple types of insurance coverages like:
Liability bodily injury coverage: This type of coverage comes into the picture if the injury was caused due to another person’s fault. You can then file a claim through the other person’s liability bodily injury coverage.
Underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage: This comes into the picture when the injury was caused due to an accident, and the driver responsible doesn’t have any insurance. You can then collect the wages lost through the underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage if that is available.
Personal Injury Protection, or PIP coverage: This kind of coverage is usually present in no-fault states. You can collect any wages you may have lost from your own insurance agency in such a situation. The amount given will depend on the limit of the policy under the PIP coverage. This applies no matter who is responsible for your injuries.
Once you request the lost wages claim with the insurance agency, it will need you to do the following:
- Get a separate medical exam to prove the injuries
- Submit any medical documents that you already have
- Get a form authorizing your employment from your employer with information about the kind of work you did, how long you were employed with the company, and so on.
- Get detailed and correct statements about how much income you lost due to the accident.
You must provide complete and correct documents to the insurance company or the court when claiming lost wages. Even if one document is incorrect or incomplete, there is a chance your claim will be denied.
Lost wages are not always easy to claim and get. You need to ensure every document is accurate, and every claim is right. There are many legalities involved that you may not always understand. It is always good to take the help of a lawyer for personal injuries who can work with you and ensure you get your lost wages. Contact us (we’re in Overland Park KS) if you have been injured and need to claim lost wages. Our experienced attorneys will work with you and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.