If you are injured in a car accident because of someone else’s recklessness or negligence, chances are that you have a viable personal injury case. Like most people, you probably expect to be compensated for medical expenses and other costs incurred due to your injury. Lost wages can and should be compensated too, and many Houston auto accident settlements reflect this. How are lost wages calculated, though? Are you strictly reimbursed for time you missed from work, or can your claim include additional types of compensation that were lost due to your inability to work?
The typical Houston auto accident personal injury case covers compensable losses incurred due to an injury or accident. Victims often assume they will strictly be reimbursed for the cost of their medical expenses, but these cases are more complicated than that. Furthermore, when they are handled properly by competent attorneys, they can bring in many additional forms of compensation for victims. For instance, the settlement value formula usually includes multiplied totals for things like medical bills and pain and suffering. Lost wages, however, are not multiplied in the settlement value formula, but that does not mean they shouldn’t be pursued.
What if you had accumulated enough sick time or vacation pay to cover the time you missed from work due to your injuries? Are you still eligible to be compensated for lost wages? You absolutely are because that sick pay and vacation time is intended for other purposes. You should still be able to rely on both when they are legitimately needed.
How to Be Compensated for Lost Wages
The first step in being compensated for injuries you have incurred following an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence is to hire an experienced Houston traffic accident lawyer. You will need to produce evidence of your medical expenses, which is fairly straightforward. If you work and lost income due to your injuries, you will also need to collect evidence to support those claims.
If you are employed in a traditional, nine-to-five job, producing evidence of lost income is fairly simple. The simplest option is to have your boss write a letter on company stationery that includes your name, your job title, your pay rate, the number of hours you typically work in a pay period and the number of hours or days you missed because of your injuries. This is typically enough to prove the amount of money you lost.
If you are self-employed or irregularly employed in some way, producing viable evidence will be trickier. Depending on the circumstances, letters, invoices, various documents and even calendars showing your typical work week may suffice. If your income tends to fluctuate, it may be estimated by taking your annual income — an income tax return is handy for this — and dividing it to produce a monthly or weekly average.
You may also be reimbursed for lost work opportunities that may have generated additional income for you. This is also known as lost compensation or lost potential income and may include things like bonuses, missed job interviews, important meetings and the like. Also, the right attorney will ensure that you are reimbursed for other types of lost compensation, including holiday pay, bonus days, perks and other benefits. For example, if you were unable to work due to your injury or because you were undergoing treatment on what was supposed to be a paid holiday, you should still be compensated for that amount. Incredibly, many auto accident victims fail to take such matters into consideration and miss out on additional compensation that they are owed. The easiest way to avoid this issue is by working with a skilled lawyer who can help you collect the evidence you need to be as fully compensated as possible.