Being involved in an accident can flip your life upside down in a minute. If you have sustained grievous injuries in a car accident, it is unlikely that you will be able to resume work right away. Even mild to moderate can interfere with your ability to go to work. And, without an income, it will not be long before financial strains begin to start weighing on you. This is why Atlanta law allows victims to recover compensation for the amount of money they would have made if they cannot perform the duties at their job while recuperating from their injuries. This type of damages is referred to as lost wages and is often either misunderstood or overlooked while filing for compensation. Therefore, it is important to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta who will help you understand lost wages and how it can affect the compensation you rightfully deserve. Here’s everything you need to know as a car accident victim about understanding lost wages.
What Is Covered Under Lost Wages?
Hourly Wages – File filing your lost wage claim, add up all your missed work and multiply it by your hourly rate. For instance, if you missed 20 days of work, you will multiply the number of hours you usually work each day by your hourly rate and finally by 20. So if a worker, for instance, earns $20 hourly and misses 20 days due to his injuries, his or her lost wages will be $20 X 8 X 20 = $3200.
Overtime – As a personal injury victim, you can also include lost overtime while filing your claim. This helps seasonal workers, especially those who regularly work overtime during a certain part of the year. The best way to prove that you usually work these overtime hours is to furnish your past pay stubs.
Bonuses – If your injury causes you to miss out on a bonus you generally receive, you can also ask for compensation for this. Proving lost bonuses will again mean furnishing documentation of bonuses in the past. You can also have your employer give you a letter detailing how much bonus you would have received if you had not met with the accident.
Sick Days – Personal injury victims have to use their sick days to recover from any injuries that they may have sustained in an accident. This means they cannot use those sick days on a future date. If you find that you have had to use all your sick leave to recuperate from your injuries, fret not, for you have the right to compensation for the fair value of each sick leave.
Vacation Days – It is not uncommon for injury victims to use up their vacation time to recover after a bad car crash. If you had not met with the accident, you could have used those days for a real family vacation. The law makes it possible for you to ask the at-fault party to compensate you for the value of each lost vacation day.
Perks – When you cannot go to work, you also lose work-related perks. For instance, you may own a company cell phone or have access to a company car or even a gym membership that you cannot use when away from work. While filing a claim, the value of these things may be added as a form of lost wages.
Tips – If you report your tips every year while filing taxes, you will be able to include them in a lost wage claim. As with bonuses and over time, you will need to show that you declare your tips on your taxes.
How Do I Prove My Lost Wages?
Personal injury victims often find themselves in difficulty when it comes to proving lost wages. The best evidence for any lost wages is to request proof from your employer. First, request them to give you a letter that validates your claim. Your employer must include the following details in the letter.
Date of joining
The number of work hours in a week
Frequency of pay
Any overtime hours
Overtime rate of pay
Days of work missed
Any lost perks due to absence from work
Any bonus lost
A statement that ascertains they employed you at the time of the accident
In addition to a letter from your workplace, you may also use bank statements, past pay stubs, and tax returns to help you prove your lost wages. A car accident lawyer in Atlanta can help you come up with the exact combination you need depending on what you are claiming and the nature of your lost wages.
Self-Employed – Being self-employed poses certain challenges while filing for lost wages. It can get tricky to prove your lost wages when you are self-employed. This does not mean you cannot file for lost wages. However, you may need to show business papers and records to validate what your income may have been if you had not met with the accident. You will do good in hiring a personal injury lawyer in Macon, GA, if you are unsure how to prove lost wages if you are self-employed. The attorney will work with an accountant to explain your calculations and tell you what documentation you will need to furnish if you try to recover lost self-employment wages.
Lost Wages vs. Lost Earnings Potential
Lost wages are often confused with lost earnings potential. However, they are not the same. While lost wages look at the amount of pay you lost as a direct result of the accident, lost earnings, on the other hand, look at the work you may lose in the future due to your injuries holding you back from work. In some cases, you can also factor in lost opportunities, lost promotions, or even the ability to continue to work in the future due to your injuries. If you wish to also file for lost earnings potential, you will have to solicit a forensic accountant to validate the numbers on your claim. A reputed personal injury lawyer in Macon, GA, can help you recover lost earnings potential which is in most cases more rigorous but possible when the right evidence is presented.
If you met with an accident while on duty, you might be limited to obtaining compensation under the worker’s compensation system. However, workers comp offers different categories of recovery, and there are many ways you can go about when making your claim than what may be available to you with a personal injury claim.
Working With an Attorney
Though lost wages are a rather critical part of receiving fair and just compensation for your losses, they can be tough to prove. The entire process is a lot more complicated and technical than other kinds of damages. As a result, it is not uncommon for injury victims to omit any lost wages they can claim due to the challenges of proving them.
The best way to prove lost wages and any other damages in your case is to partner with The Hurt 911 Injury Group. We have reputed and experienced attorneys who will help evaluate your case and work toward ensuring that you receive the maximum compensation possible. Waste no time. Call us today at 1-800-522-2277 for a free consultation.