Can I Get Reimbursed For Lost Wages After a Car Accident?
It’s not uncommon to have to miss some time at work after you’ve been involved in an accident. However, missing time at work and not getting a paycheck can put you in a tough financial situation. You not only have to make sure that your day-to-day expenses are covered, but also the costs related to your accident.
Has your injury prevented you from going back to work and earning an income? Have you been forced to use vacation and sick time while you recover from your car accident? You have the right to be reimbursed for your lost wages and benefits if someone else is to blame for your injuries.
Our experienced Orange County personal injury lawyers can help you fight for the money you deserve. Call the Law Offices of John Rapillo to schedule your free case assessment today.
- 1 Can I Recover Lost Wages If I File a Car Accident Lawsuit?
- 2 Compensation May Be Available Even If You’re Paid to Miss Work
- 3 Are Lost Wages Available If I’m Self Employed?
- 4 How to Recover Compensation For Lost Wages After Your Accident
- 5 Compensation Available for Temporary and Permanent Disability
- 6 Need Help?
Can I Recover Lost Wages If I File a Car Accident Lawsuit?
Someone else caused your accident and injury. You shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences by yourself. You have the right to demand compensation from anyone who contributed to your injury. In California, you can pursue compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are paid to compensate you for financial costs that are directly related to your accident. Lost wages and benefits fall into this category. When you request compensation for lost wages, you’re essentially asking to be reimbursed for income, wages, benefits, overtime, and other calculable financial losses you’ve experienced because of your accident.
An award for lost wages should help to put you back in the financial position you were in before you were injured. It should be as if you never suffered an economic loss, at all.
Compensation May Be Available Even If You’re Paid to Miss Work
Many employers offer benefit packages to their employees. These benefits typically include paid time off (PTO), vacation days, personal days, and/or sick days. Unfortunately, accident victims are often forced to use this PTO while recovering from an accident-related injury. Using paid benefit time allows you to maintain a stream of income while you aren’t working. This can be great in the short-term, but potentially dangerous in the long run.
These benefits should be yours to use at your discretion. You shouldn’t be forced to dip into your vacation days and sick time because you’ve been injured through no fault of your own. What happens if there’s a family emergency later in the year, or if you develop a serious illness? You could be out of luck if you’ve already used up your sick and personal days because of this accident.
Fortunately, you can request to be compensated for any paid benefits that you were forced to use while recovering from your accident-related injuries.
How Much Are Sick and Vacation Days Worth?
You have the right to be compensated for the PTO you use while recovering from your injuries. How do you know how much to ask for when requesting this type of reimbursement? The value of sick and vacation days is generally the equivalent of one day’s pay. So, if you earn $175 a day, every day of PTO you used while recovering from your injury would be worth $175.
Are Lost Wages Available If I’m Self Employed?
Yes. Lost wages and income aren’t just available for W2 employees. You can still obtain compensation if you work for yourself. However, proving your losses can be a bit more challenging. Independent contractors tend to have incomes that fluctuate. You’ll need to gather documents and evidence to not only show that you’ve lost income, but also to prove how much you’ve missed out on because of your injury.
If you’re self-employed, you’ll want to gather the following documents to demonstrate your losses:
- Prior year state and federal income tax returns
- 1099s and other tax forms
- Proof of contracts and projects you’ve been unable to complete
- Proof of canceled appointments, and
- Bank account statements.
Not sure where to start? Speak to a car accident lawyer to make sure that you are fairly compensated for your lost self-employment income.
How to Recover Compensation For Lost Wages After Your Accident
You’ve missed time at work. Maybe you’ve used up some sick and personal days to maintain some financial stability while you recover. You know that you can be reimbursed for these economic losses.
The next step is filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to obtain your financial award. Here’s what you’ll need to do to make sure that you get the money you deserve.
Demonstrate Your Injury
Be prepared to face opposition from defendants and insurance companies as you pursue compensation. Insurers do not want to pay you for your injuries. In fact, they’ll do everything they can to limit the amount of money you receive. This includes arguing that your injuries weren’t severe enough to warrant you taking time away from work.
You’ll need to prove them wrong. Here’s how.
Get Your Doctor Involved: Your doctor will review your medical records and ask you a series of questions. They’ll want to know what you do for a living and a little bit about your job responsibilities. They’ll consider your injury and determine how it likely affects your ability to do your job. They can provide a statement that you can use to prove that your injury does, in fact, prevent you from working.
Gather Medical Records: Medical records can be used to supplement your doctor’s statement. The more information you have to demonstrate the severity of your injury, the better your chances of recovering the money you deserve.
Show You’ve Missed Work and Lost Income
Once you’ve established that your injury prevents you from working, you’ll have to show that you actually missed time at work. Gather the following documents to help support your case:
- Letter from your employer
- Time cards or time sheets
- Income tax returns
- W2s and other tax forms, and
- Overview of employer benefit policy.
You’ll want to make it perfectly clear that you’ve missed time at work and suffered financially, as a result.
Compensation Available for Temporary and Permanent Disability
Sometimes an injury can cause a temporary or permanent disability that really limits your ability to work. You can be compensated for the income you’ll miss out on because of your disability. This is typically known as compensation for a reduced earning capacity.
While you can pursue compensation for a reduced earning capacity on your own, it’s best to turn to an experienced attorney for help. Valuing your reduced earning capacity can be challenging.
At the Law Offices of John Rapillo, our attorneys regularly consult with some of the best accident experts in Orange County. They’ll help us determine how much your injury case is worth. Our demands for compensation will be stronger thanks to their reputable input.
Are you struggling with a painful injury after an Orange County traffic accident? Have you missed time at work because of your injury? Contact our experienced Orange County personal injury attorneys to learn about your legal options.
You may have the right to be reimbursed for your lost wages and benefits. Our attorneys can help you maximize your award. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation and learn more.