Can I Claim Lost Wages as Part of my Auto Accident Case?

If you have been injured in an auto accident in North Carolina, you may have had to miss one or more days of work due to your injuries. People often think of filing an insurance claim to be reimbursed for medical bills and pain and suffering, but you may also be able to be reimbursed for time you missed from your job. This would be the lost wages part of your injury claim.

In order to make a lost wages claim as part of your injury claim, certain documentation may be needed. For example, if you were treated at the hospital immediately following the wreck, released to go home, but have ongoing medical appointments, you may need a doctor’s note to back up your lost wages claim.

A doctor’s note is just one of the pieces of information that may be needed to in order to make the strongest claim for lost wages. Here is a list of some items you may need:

  • Out-of-Work Notes: These are notes from your doctor that require you to be out of work for a certain period of time for medical reasons. For example, if your job requires heavy lifting, and your injuries make it difficult or impossible for you to do any heavy lifting, your doctor will likely write you a note that restricts your activities at work or takes you out of work completely for a time. If you sustained a concussion and need to restrict your exposure to lights and screens, your doctor will likely write a note keeping you out of work entirely or limiting you to a few hours per day.
  • Job Description: In order to make a lost wages claim, you may have to explain to an insurance company or jury what type of work you do, your injuries after the wreck, and how your injuries prevented you from doing that work. Having a written job description with a list of your job duties can help provide clarification.
  • Documentation from Work: You may need something from your job showing absences and verifying your position of employment and rate of pay. For example, you may be able to ask your employer for your time sheets that show your typical work days before the wreck and then your absences afterwards that line up with out-of-work notes, hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, etc. It can also be helpful to have a supervisor or manager sign a statement verifying your absences, your job description, and your hourly wages or salary.
  • Tax Returns: Depending on your job and the amount of lost wages you are claiming, you may be asked to provide a copy of your tax returns to show how much you typically made per year compared to how much you made in the year following your wreck. For someone who is self-employed, tax returns can be particularly useful.

Some employment situations that may result in lost wages claims include:

  • Independent Contractors: Do you drive for a ride sharing or pizza delivery service? Or maybe you provide other services on a contract basis. If you have had to miss shifts or turn down work as a result of your injuries, you may be able to make a lost wages claim.
  • Employees: If you are employed full-time, you may have had to use sick leave, vacation time, or sick days to cover your absences. These are days that you now cannot use for other things like absences due to sickness or family vacations. You may be able to make a claim for the value of those days.
  • Self-Employed: If you are self-employed and were unable to work for a period of time after your wreck, you may be able to make a lost wages claim. You will likely need documentation such as out-of-work notes from your doctor, proof of work you had to turn down, and possibly copies of your tax returns.
  • Seasonal or Part-Time: If you work part-time or in a seasonal job and were unable to work the shifts you were assigned due to your injuries, you may be able to claim lost wages. You will likely need a statement from your supervisor or manager showing the days you would have been scheduled to work except for your injuries.
  • Unemployed Individuals: If you were unemployed at the time of your accident but actively seeking employment, you may be able to make a claim for loss of earning capacity, or loss of the ability to earn wages, as a result of your injuries.

Making a claim for lost wages or loss of earning capacity can be a little more complex than other portions of your claim, but if you’ve lost income or the ability to earn income as a result of someone else’s negligence, you deserve to be fully compensated for everything you’ve been through. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know what documentation you need for your lost wage or loss of earning capacity claim and can help you obtain those documents and make a successful claim.

At Burton Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers believe in fighting to help you recover what you’ve lost and to protect your future. If you have questions about your case, your injuries, or how to make a lost wages claim, call Burton Law Firm today. We provide free consultations, and we’ll take the time to talk with you, answer your questions, and discuss your legal rights and options.