Imagine one minute you are on your way home from work or just running some errands, and the next thing you know you hear a crashing sound and feel yourself being forcefully flung around in your vehicle.
After an accident, you may be suffering from a devastating injury that can render you unable to return to work for a couple weeks, months, years, or worst of all, forever. Lost wages, loss of earning capacity and outrageous medical expenses can leave you and your family in a terrible financial situation.
So, what do you do after you have been in a severe accident and can no longer go to work to make a living? Just like you can recover for personal injury or property damage following a car accident, you may also be entitled to recover lost wages. This is simply the money you would have earned from your employer had you not been injured and continued working.
What is Considered “Lost Wages”?
In addition to your regular salary or hourly pay, you may also be missing out on other benefits while recovering from your injuries. Other types of lost wages include:
– Vacation Days
– Sick Leave
– Matching Contributions
– Pay Raise Opportunities
– Retirement Funds and Pension Plans
What is Considered “Loss of Earning Capacity”?
Loss of earning capacity is a different type of damage than lost income. Loss of income is defined by lost time from work from the moment you are unable to work to the time you return to work.
Loss of earning capacity occurs when your injuries impair your ability to return to full duties at work or require that you must change jobs at a lower wage. The differential of wages is the loss that would be recoverable from the at fault driver and/ or carrier.
Even if you have not worked for years because you have chosen to stay at home to raise your children, you may be entitled to a recovery for loss of earning capacity. So for example, you were a teacher who stayed at home for a number of years due to family commitments and suffered injuries that would prohibit you from teaching, but you are still able to work as a cashier. You would be entitled to recover the differential wage between the higher teacher salary and the lower cashier salary.
Proving Lost Wages in Louisiana
In a personal injury lawsuit, you may be eligible to receive compensation for lost wages during your recovery. But you may also make a claim for loss of future earnings. It is much more difficult to prove the loss of future wages, but it is possible with the help of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. It must be proven that your injuries were a result of the accident and not some other cause.
In order to receive lost wages, you must prove that you were unable to work due to the injuries you sustained in your accident. All financial losses as a result of your accident are compensable, but your approach to making a lost wages claim is important. The more information you can provide, the better chances you have of receiving compensation.
Proof of your inability to return to work may consist of medical records, testimony of medical experts, documentation and/or testimony of your absence from the workplace, and documentation calculating the wages you would have received had you been at work. More specifically, you should provide:
– Detailed medical records and doctor’s narrative explaining your injuries, recovery potential, projected date to return to work, and extent to which you can perform your work duties
– W-2 forms from the last tax year
– Pay stubs/ earning history
– Any banking records/ account receivables to prove your lost wages
– Tax returns
When seeking to recover lost income, you may file for lost wages with the at-fault drivers insurance company. However, if the other driver, who is liable, does not have insurance, you may only make a claim with your own insurance company assuming you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Finally, you may also file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to make a claim for lost income and other damages.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, call us today for a free consultation! PHONE CARDONE at 504-522-3333, 225-706-3920 (Baton Rouge office), 1-888-892-2736 (toll free) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.