You’re out and about, going about your life when suddenly someone slams into you. Now imagine that your car is totaled, and you’ve sustained some injuries that will take some time to heal. In the blink of an eye, you find yourself unable to work for an extended period of time. You have to stop to heal, but the bad news is, your financial responsibilities don’t. The financial burden can be just as overwhelming as the injuries you sustained.
What Is Legally Considered ‘Lost Wages’?
Lost wages refer to the money you would have earned if you could turn back the clock to the split seconds before the crash from the time of the accident until the date of the settlement of judgment. Your injuries must be a direct result of the accident, and not from an earlier event, such as a knee injury from a high school football game that happened years ago. With proper legal guidance, you should be able to recover the wages you would have earned had you not missed work due to your injuries and the time it took to heal.
What’s the Difference Between ‘Lost Earning Capacity’ and ‘Lost Compensation’?
If your injuries are so severe that you will not be able to return to your previous occupation or perform specific tasks at work, that is considered lost earning capacity. Lost compensation refers to not only lost wages, but also other benefits you might have enjoyed, such as bonuses or other perks, if you had not been injured in an accident.
How Do You Prove You’ve Lost Wages or Earning Capacity?
First, you must secure note or a disability slip from a physician before taking time off to recover from your injuries. This note will typically include a recommended period of time you’ll need to seek treatment and recover fully enough to return to work. Second, you’ll need paystubs or other wage documents to prove how much you would have earned. These can be your W-2s or your tax return from the previous year. If you are self-employed or a sole proprietor of a business, you can submit your tax return along with any invoices, approved contracts of the scope of work, or approved estimates to prove what you would have earned if the accident never happened. If you are working for a company, you will need a letter from your employer to confirm how many days you were absent, your pay level, and the number of hours you work each pay period.
All of This Can Be Confusing, Particularly If You’re Suffering
Navigating auto insurance coverage, health insurance benefits, medical documentation, and employment authorizations can be confusing even when you’re of sound mind and body. Often after an accident, the only thing you really want to focus on is getting better and not losing what you’ve worked so hard for in the process. That’s why it’s so important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to get the process of financial recovery underway.
If you’re involved in an auto accident, it’s important to seek medical attention and the advice of proven, trial-tested personal injury attorneys like those at Fernandez & Hernandez Attorneys At Law. We can work with your or the at-fault driver’s insurance company to make sure you receive the damages you deserve. You can reach us for advice 24/7 by calling 813.755.9500. Hablan español.