A car accident can change your life in a split second. There is a lot you will probably have to deal with, from physical injuries to emotional trauma and a wrecked vehicle that need to be repaired or replaced. Even worse, you may end up with a disability that deprives you of the capacity to work temporarily or permanently. The financial impact of lost wages is massive, particularly if you have a family that is dependent on you.
Fortunately, a personal injury claim offers coverage not only for injuries and damages in an accident but for loss of income as well. You can depend on it to get your finances on track but everything boils down to handling the claim properly. A seasoned personal injury lawyer can help you maximize the claim for lost income and wage-earning capacity after a mishap. Here are the steps that you need to follow to you get the claim you deserve.
Understanding the coverage of lost wages
Lost wages are the wages you would have earned had the mishap not injured you and interfered with your ability to work on your job. After a car accident, you may lose wages for a variety of reasons apart from injuries that cause temporary or long-term disability. These include frequent trips to the hospital, undergoing medical treatments, or dealing with car repairs. When it comes to the calculation of lost wages, it includes job-related payments and missed opportunities to earn. Here are the aspects that your lawyer will add up for calculating the value:
- Missed paychecks
- Missed earning opportunities such as overtime, bonuses, and extra shifts
- Lost sick days or vacation days
- Potential promotions
- Loss of future earning capacity
Lost earning capacity refers to future income you end up foreseeably losing due to a disability. If your doctor recommends you stay home or work for fewer hours than usual, you can claim the difference between regular income and current income. If a disability puts you out of work, you will be entitled to compensation that covers all foreseeable lost wages.
Recovering lost wages after an accident
Just like the cost of injuries and other damages, lost wages also form a part of the compensation claim you file after the accident. To recover them, you will have to prove that these losses exist. The evidence needed to validate them typically includes:
- Your medical reports
- A letter from your employer
- Wage documents or paystubs
- Any other documentation showing you lost wages because of the car accident
Insurance companies require the claimant to undergo an independent medical examination by a doctor appointed by them before providing compensation for damages including lost wages. It is best to have a lawyer handling negotiations at this stage because you can expect the insurance company to try any tactics for lowering your compensation value. However, you will be able to get better results with the help of this firm because they understand the loopholes of car accident claims, from validating your injuries and lost wages to calculating the value of the compensation. If the insurance company fails to reimburse you for lost wages properly, the lawyers can help you file a lawsuit as an alternative course of action.
Filing a lawsuit for compensation of lost wages
While negotiation is the best possible recourse to get compensation after an accident, it may not always work. A lawsuit could get you better compensation value that covers your economic and noneconomic losses and gets your finances on track after the mishap. Filing a lawsuit is appropriate if you strong proof that the other driver was negligent and that his or her actions led to the crash. If your lawyer believes that you have grounds for a valid lawsuit and the insurance company is not offering you adequate compensation, they will recommend bringing legal action to get you full lost-wage reimbursement. However, it is important that you file the lawsuit within the period specified in the statute of limitations for your state. Having a knowledgeable lawyer to steer the case in the right direction is equally crucial.
Fair and adequate compensation for lost wages after a car accident can go a long way in getting your finances on track. You can rest assured that you will have enough to spend on your medical treatment, handle day-to-day expenses, and support your family in the long run. Even if you lose your long-term earning capacity, you will have financial security and peace of mind.