Personal injury cases can involve motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall incidents and injuries caused by defective products among other things. Regardless of the cause, when someone else’s negligence results in severe injuries, you may require an extended period to recover and return to your normal life. You may miss time at work. In some cases, victims and their families are never able to return to their normal activities and may lose their ability to work and earn a living.
The loss of wages often places a greater financial strain on an accident victim’s family than the cost of medical care and rehabilitation. The combination of lost wages and the medical expenses can be overwhelming. As victims are unable to work and earn a living moving forward, the strain is often increased.
Experienced personal injury attorneys like those at Smith Stag, understand that your claim involves more than just the damage to your vehicle and your medical expenses. We will fight to recover a settlement that covers all of your losses including your lost wages as well as other less tangible costs that impact you and your family.
Proving Lost Wages
If you were gainfully employed before the accident and are unable to work as a result of your injuries, we will fight the insurance company to ensure that lost wages are included as part of your damages. This applies regardless of whether your injury temporarily or permanently causes you to stop working.
It isn’t enough to state that your injury has interfered with your ability to work. In order to prove this loss, we will have to provide documentation to the insurance company proving your income before and after your injury. The documentary evidence of lost wages may include:
- W-2 forms from the last tax year
- Pay stubs for the months prior to your injury. If you continued to receive your wages after the accident, include the paystubs for after the accident to show the difference in wages before and after the accident.
- Verification of your wage from your employer. The insurance company may require a salary or wage verification form. This should be filled out by your employer listing the number of hours you normally work per week, your normal wages, and how many hours of work you have missed.
- If you are self-employed or own a business, you may need to provide your tax returns, accounts receivables, and banking records.
As part of your claim, we will need evidence of your short or long term disability. This may require the testimony of your doctor or of medical experts. The testimony should demonstrate that you were unable to work for a period of time or for the foreseeable future.
Initially, we will use this evidence to convince to the insurance company to pay your lost wages as part of the settlement. However, if we are not able to obtain a fair settlement on your behalf, we will take your case to court and present it to a jury.
How Lost Wages are Calculated
The amount awarded for lost wages will depend on whether you had an annual salary or an hourly wage. The amount awarded will be equivalent to the amount you would have earned for the period you missed work. Other factors considered in this calculation include lost commissions, bonus payments, and overtime that you may have got if you were working. In situations where you will not be able to work in the future or where your income will be diminished in the future due to your injury, we will use experts to prove the full value of your lost wages claim.