A car accident does not just ruin your day, the lingering effects of the collision might ruin your week, your month, or even your year. From the moment of impact, you have been damaged. The purpose of a personal injury claim is to help identify those damages and present your case clearly and effectively to the at fault driver and their insurance company. From medical bills to pain and suffering, damages are a necessary part of any personal injury lawsuit. Wage loss is often forgotten and can be a vital part of your claim.
If you are damaged in a car accident, you are entitled to be made whole. That means the car insurance company for the at fault driver should compensate you to a level sufficient to return you to where you were immediately prior to the collision. If you are injured in the impact, your ability to work might be in question. Medical injuries may cause different issues for each unique individual. Neck and back pain may prevent a landscaper from properly bending to pick up branches. Similarly, neck and back pain may prevent an office worker from sitting comfortably at a computer. Either way, if you miss work, you are entitled to be compensated for your lost wages.
Sometimes, it is easy to compute. If you make $20 per hour, and your employer calculates that you missed 20 hours of work due to the collision, you may be entitled to $400 in lost wages. But what happens if you work on a salary? What happens if you own your own business? What happens if you use vacation or sick time and get paid for the time that you miss? These are all important questions that need to be answered as part of your personal injury claim.
If you are a salaried employee making $75,000 per year, your wage loss is wholly determinative on your employer’s policies. If you are afforded accommodations so that your pay is not reduced, and you are not forced to expend any benefits to maintain your salary, you may not be entitled to lost wages. If you has to use four weeks of vacation and sick time you saved up in order to maintain your salary, you are certainly entitled to compensation for the value of the used benefit. At $75,000 per year, four weeks of used vacation time totals $5,769.23.
Proving your wage loss can be easy if your employer maintains good records. Paystubs from prior to the collision may clarify your rate of pay, and paystubs after the crash would certainly document your missed income. If you own your own business, recordkeeping is extra important. Perhaps you’re a realtor who missed the “hot” season due to an injury. Establishing your lost wages might require showing how much money you had previously earned during the last few hot seasons of the real estate market. It might require hiring an expert to help analyze your financial records. It might require significantly more information to show that you truly lost wages.
At the law offices of Magnuson Lowell, PS, our qualified team of litigators is experienced in establishing claims for wage loss. From the outset, your attorney will help you understand the process and determine what records are likely needed to prove your lost wages. Call today for a free case evaluation!