Recovering Lost Wages After an Injury Accident Caused by Negligence
If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent actions, and you were forced to take unpaid time off work, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for any lost income while you were recovering from your injuries.
Call our Charleston personal injury lawyers today to discuss the facts of your claim to learn more about your legal options to help recover the compensation you need.
Below, we discuss what factors may need to be addressed when pursuing compensation for lost wages.
Lost Wages vs Lost Earning Capacity
The difference between lost wages and lost earning capacity is that one refers to past lost income while the other refers to future lost income. Lost wages are the funds you lost out on while you were forced to take unpaid time off work while recovering from your injuries after the accident.
However, if you suffered permanent injuries that left you unable to work altogether, lost future earnings may fall under the category of lost earning capacity.
Regardless of the type of income you lose after an accident that was not your fault, it would be in your best interest to speak to one of our licensed attorneys. Unlike the insurance companies, our goal is to recover full compensation for your damages, including lost wages.
Proving Loss of Income
If you are trying to prove past lost wages because your injuries left you temporarily unable to work, you may need proof from your treating doctor or doctors. In addition to medical proof, you will likely need to provide information from your job showing how much time you missed.
For example, if you underwent a surgical procedure that left you bedridden for two weeks, you would likely need to provide proof of either the hospital stay or outpatient surgery. You would also need proof you were out of work for those two weeks.
As for proving how much money you lost, you may be able to use any of the following to show how much you would have made had you been working:
- Income tax returns
- Bank statements
If you work in a job where your income is based on tips or commission, calculating how much income you lost out on may be more complicated, but a letter from your employer explaining the following may be supplemental to help prove the income you lost:
- Job duties
- Pay structure of the company
- Average tips/commission you make per day/week
Proving a loss of earning capacity also requires a professional medical opinion stating the types of activities you can no longer do. It also requires proof that there is no alternative employment option for you with similar pay to the job you had prior to the accident.
To prove how much money you would have made in the future, several factors also need to be calculated, such as:
- Your age
- Type of job you worked
- Any predicted promotions or raises
- Lost benefits such as 401K, health or life insurance, etc.
What if I am Self-Employed?
Self-employed injury victims looking to prove lost income may be able to use income tax return information or bank statements showing roughly how much they make in a year. You may also be able to show the type of work you do and the current projects you are working on if your projected yearly income is higher than previous years.
Who Pays Lost Wages Damages?
In at-fault states like South Carolina, it is important to remember that the liability insurance of the at-fault party is generally responsible for paying any damages caused by the insured’s negligence. This includes any claims for lost wages or loss of earning capacity.
So long as you can prove the injuries you suffered in the accident were the reason for your lost income, the liability insurance should cover your lost wages.
Let Us Help. Call Today
The process of recovering compensation for lost income may be complex, depending on the type of claim you are making and the type of work you do. Fortunately, our attorneys are prepared to help you through the entire legal process.
We do not charge you anything up front and only get paid if you do.