How to Get Lost Wages After a Serious Car Accident
Posted in Uncategorized on October 25, 2016.
Recovering from a serious injury is stressful enough without the additional financial concerns of missing out on pay from your time away from your job. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident and had to miss work as a result of your injuries, you’re likely wondering what recourse you have to recover your lost wages. If you’re planning to sue the driver who caused the accident to seek damages for lost wages, here are some of the major factors to consider.
When we think about suing to recover lost wages, we tend to jump right to the most obvious damages – injuries directly caused by the accident that caused you to miss work until you fully heal. In cases like this, you’re entitled to seek damages for the amount you would have been paid during the time you would have worked if you hadn’t been injured. For example, if you sustained a neck injury in the accident that caused to miss three months of work, you sue to be compensated for the amount you would have earned in wages during those three months.
Keep in mind that not only physical injuries from your accident can lead to lost wages. If your doctor determines that you have psychological damages, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), severe enough for you to miss work, you can still sue to recover lost wages even if your physical injuries aren’t as limiting.
Lost Earning Capacity
In more serious cases, the damage may not be quite so easily quantifiable. It’s possible that extremely serious injuries can lead to long-term disabilities, which in turn could reduce your ability to work and earn money indefinitely. In this case, you can sue to recover damages as “lost earning capacity.” You may be eligible for these damages even if you can still work on some level, as your injuries may prevent you from working at a higher-paying job. You don’t need to be confined to a wheelchair to qualify either. Chronic pain issues as a result of your injuries can also decrease your earning capacity, for example.
Keep pre-existing injuries in mind, as well. Generally, in order to recover damages for lost wages or loss of earning capacity, the injuries need to be suffered as a direct result of the car accident – for example, you broke your leg in the accident and are unable to work for two months as a result. However, if the accident aggravated or worsened an injury you had before the accident, preventing you from returning to work, you can still sue for lost wages.
In order to successfully recover lost wages in a car accident lawsuit, you do need to be able to provide proof of your usual earnings. In most cases, simply submit your most recent pay stub from prior to the accident as proof of your typical wages. The process is slightly more complicated if you’re self-employed, but submitting documentation, such as invoices, from the same period of time the previous year should provide solid evidence of your usual earnings.
Proving lost earning capacity, rather than simply lost wages, is a little more complicated, as it requires a bit of speculation regarding the future. Some sort of reduced earning capacity can usually be assumed as a result of the injury. The harder part is determining how much the injury has reduced your earning capacity. You may be able to compare pay stubs from prior to and after the accident, but you may also need to call upon witnesses from your place of work who can testify to the ways in which your injury has affected your earning capacity. An experienced Birmingham car accident attorney can help you figure out what you’ll need to prove and how to do it.