Explaining Lost Wages After You Were Injured
Accidents resulting from others’ negligence can lead to serious personal injuries, which may cause mounting medical bills. Victims sometimes need to undergo complicated medical procedures or surgery after an accident. They might also need to pay for a hospital visit, ongoing physical therapy, and other medical appointments.
Healing after a serious accident can also take a financial toll on the accident victim. However, that burden may increase significantly if their injuries prevent them from working. Many accident victims who work in the building or construction industries must take a lengthy leave of absence from their job. If they don’t have a regular paycheck coming in, they may experience severe financial hardship.
If you suffered injuries in an accident that resulted from someone else’s carelessness, you might be eligible to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit for monetary damages. In most instances, your lawyer can file a lawsuit with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
You can recover your lost wages as part of your personal injury claim or lawsuit. In some circumstances, you can also claim loss of earning capacity.
A knowledgeable personal injury attorney in your area can determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim and pursue lost earnings. If so, your attorney can assist you with every aspect of the claims-filing process and will work diligently to recover the damages you need. If the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to compensate you fairly for your lost earnings, your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your case to a conclusion in court.
What are Lost Wages in Personal Injury Cases?
The purpose of bringing a lost wage claim is to recover the monetary compensation you should have earned from your job had you not suffered injuries in an accident. In some instances, the sheer pain associated with your injuries may prevent you from working for a significant period. Alternatively, you may need to take time off work to attend medical and physical therapy appointments. This is especially true if you suffer a permanent injury or disability in your accident.
Permanent injuries are those which are unlikely to become better over time. These injuries may also cause an accident victim to experience lifelong pain and discomfort in the affected areas of their body.
The burden of Proof in a Lost Wage Claim
In all personal injury claims and lawsuits, the accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof. Therefore, they must establish every legal element of their claim. On the other hand, the at-fault party does not have to prove anything in the case. The same holds true in a lost wage claim, as the accident victim has the legal burden of proof.
Proving lost wages in a personal injury claim is sometimes an uphill battle. That is because insurance companies often try to avoid paying these damages.
One of the best ways to prove your entitlement to lost wage compensation is by documenting your income. For example, you might submit a letter from your employer that shows the dates and times that you missed work, along with the amount of money you lost.
In addition to recovering monetary compensation for past lost wages, you may be eligible to make a future lost wage claim. You improve your chances of recovering these damages when you introduce medical records in your case. In those records, a medical provider must estimate—to a reasonable degree of medical probability—the amount of time it will likely take you to recover from your injuries. The insurance company can then use this information, along with your employer’s records, to determine the anticipated work compensation you will lose.
For example, if a medical provider believes that you will need to undergo a complicated medical procedure in the future, they can estimate how long it will likely take for you to make a full recovery.
A knowledgeable personal injury attorney in your area can help you obtain the documents necessary to prove your past or future lost wage claim. Your lawyer can then submit these documents to the insurance company as part of a settlement demand package and pursue a fair offer from the settlement adjuster.
Lost Wages When an Injured Worker Is Self-employed
Obtaining lost wage compensation when a worker is self-employed can be more difficult. This is because self-employed individuals typically do not receive a formal salary.
In this instance, the insurance company will have to look at the self-employed individual’s average earnings from their company or another business enterprise. In cases where a self-employed individual’s monthly or yearly income has gone down significantly following their accident, they may use this fact as a basis for proving their lost wage claim.
In cases where an injured accident victim is self-employed, they will need to demonstrate that the reason why their company’s profits decreased is that they were unable to work following their accident.
A knowledgeable personal injury attorney in your area can help you prove your entitlement to lost wages and other monetary compensation stemming from your recent accident.
Monetary Compensation for Loss of Earning Capacity
In addition to pursuing monetary compensation for lost wages, an injured accident victim may be eligible to make a claim for loss of earning capacity. These types of damages are especially common among injured construction workers and builders. These workers typically rely heavily upon their bodies to perform their work duties.
If they suffer injuries in a serious car crash or slip-and-fall accident, they may be out of work for a significant time. Moreover, if they suffer severe enough injuries, they may need to change jobs or entire careers due to their inability to work. As a result of accepting a less-lucrative position, they may also need to take a large pay cut.
When the insurance company evaluates your claim, they should consider any pay cuts you experienced, as well as a lack of bonuses, promotions, or career advancement. A personal injury attorney in your area can help you decide if you are eligible to bring a claim for loss of earning capacity. If so, you can pursue the necessary claim with the insurance company.
Workers’ Compensation, SSDI, and SSI Considerations
Whenever an individual suffers injuries while working at their job and within the scope of their employment, they may be eligible to bring a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are generally available to accident victims without regard to fault. Moreover, the benefits an accident victim recovers usually depend upon the circumstances surrounding their accident and other related factors.
As a result of a workplace injury, injured workers may be eligible to recover a portion of their lost wages, along with compensation for their medical expenses. If they suffered a permanent disability or impairment in their accident, they might also be eligible for permanency benefits. Finally, if the workplace accident prevents them from working at their current job, they may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation benefits.
Similarly, disabled individuals may be eligible to recover Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits under certain circumstances. These benefits may provide individuals with the financial relief they need after becoming disabled in an accident.
A knowledgeable attorney in your area can determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation or disability benefits and can help you file the necessary benefits claim.
Types of Accidents That Lead to Personal Injury Claims and Lawsuits
Personal injury claims, including claims for lost wages, usually arise from others’ negligent actions and inactions. A person or entity is negligent when they fail to follow the applicable standard of care under the circumstances. In other words, they must act unreasonably.
To prevail in a negligence claim, an accident victim must satisfy their legal burden of proof. Specifically, they must show that the at-fault party behaved unreasonably under the circumstances and that, as a result, the subject accident occurred. Next, they must show that they suffered at least one injury in the accident and that their injury directly resulted from the accident.
When individuals and entities behave negligently, they may cause various types of accidents.
Some of the most common accidents that result from others’ negligence include:
Motor vehicle crashes, where a driver engages in road rage, violates one or more traffic accidents, or engages in distracted or intoxicated driving.
Premises accidents, where a property owner fails to take care of their property and correct—or warn about—dangerous conditions within a reasonable time period
If you suffered injuries in any of these occurrences that resulted from someone else’s negligence, your lawyer can determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim—including a claim for lost wages. If so, your attorney can assist you throughout the process and work to maximize the lost wage compensation you recover.
Injuries That Accident Victims May Suffer
Whenever individuals and entities behave negligently, and an accident occurs, victims may suffer various injuries. The specific injuries that accident victims sustain often depend upon the type of accident that occurs, the force of the accident, and the body part(s) affected.
Common injuries that accident victims suffer include traumatic head and brain damage, soft tissue contusions, broken bones, fractures, internal organ damage, cuts, bruises, abrasions, paralysis injuries, and spinal cord injuries.
If you suffered injuries in an accident that prevented you from working, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in your area can help you file your lost wage claim—or a claim for loss of earning capacity. If the insurance company refuses to take your case seriously and will not offer you the wage loss compensation you deserve, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf and litigate it in the court system.
What Other Damages Can I Recover Besides Lost Wages?
In addition to lost wage compensation, accident victims can recover other types of damages. The total damages that an accident victim recovers usually depend upon the severity of their injuries, the cost of their medical treatment, and other related factors.
In addition to wage loss compensation, accident victims can pursue damages for their:
Related medical expenses
Loss of the ability to use a body part
Loss of life enjoyment
Past and future pain and suffering
Permanent disfigurement or disability
Loss of spousal companionship and consortium
A skilled personal injury attorney in your area can negotiate with the settlement adjuster and work to maximize the total compensation you recover in your case. If your case must go to a jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding, your lawyer can aggressively represent you and fight for your right to recover the damages you deserve.
Disability and Workers’ Compensation due to Personal Injuries
In the United States, 61 million adults live with a disability. Some of these disabilities leave them unable to work. Fortunately, there are resources like Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to keep Americans able to take care of their bills. SSDI is available to longtime members of the workforce. SSI is available even to those who don’t have an extensive work history. This often includes young people who become injured prior to starting their careers or shortly after they start working.
Both SSI and SSDI provide a great deal of financial relief for people living with a disability. However, the application process is detailed and lengthy. It can take over six months to begin receiving benefits, and not all applications are approved.
If you were injured due to a workplace injury, you can collect Workers’ Compensation benefits if you are eligible under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. When you are injured while on the clock, you may be able to collect temporary total disability pay (TTD). Your personal injury attorney can help you to get the proper benefits and walk you through what steps will be necessary to get you financially stable as quickly as possible.
In any situation involving lost wages or wage compensation, it is best to speak to an attorney as early as possible. Having a qualified personal injury attorney handle your injury claim from the start can help you to receive maximum compensation for your injuries much faster.
Call a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney to Represent You Today
If you suffered injuries in an accident resulting from another person’s negligence, a personal injury lawyer can be an invaluable help. In fact, if you elect to represent yourself, the insurance company handling your claim will likely take advantage of you. Most insurance companies and their adjusters believe that unrepresented individuals lack the necessary settlement negotiation and litigation skills to handle their cases effectively.
Therefore, insurance companies typically offer unrepresented accident victims far less compensation than their case is actually worth. If you incur lost wages after your accident, the adjuster may not even consider those damages as part of your personal injury claim.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in your area can represent you during every stage of your claim or lawsuit and work to recover the damages you deserve, including compensation for your lost wages and loss of earning capacity. Do not risk losing out on wage replacement payments. Seek legal help today.
David Abels has carved a niche for himself in the personal injury law sector, dedicating a substantial part of his career since 1997 to representing victims of various accidents. With a law practice that spans over two decades, his expertise has been consistently recognized within the legal community.