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Recovering Compensation for Lost Wages After a Car Accident: Strategies Employed by Car Accident Lawyers

Compensation for lost wages after a car accident

A serious car accident can leave you with painful physical injuries and feeling uncertain about your financial future. One of your biggest concerns may be how you will support yourself and your family while you are recovering and unable to work. 

You are entitled to seek compensation for your lost wages by filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Unfortunately, recovering fair compensation after a car accident is not always easy. For this reason, it’s important to have a skilled personal injury lawyer representing you. 

This article will discuss how personal injury lawyers can help car accident victims recover compensation for lost wages. 


What You Can Expect From Your Personal Injury Lawyer After a Car Accident


Severe car accident injuries may require extensive medical treatment. Victims may be unable to return to work for weeks or even months while recovering. 

If this is your situation, you may be wondering, “How am I supposed to pay your bills if I am unable to return to work?” A lawyer can help you pursue damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. 

If an injury prevents you from working, you can expect your car accident lawyer to:

  • Investigate your accident thoroughly to determine the cause
  • Offer legal advice and answer any questions you have
  • Identify all liable parties 
  • Gather evidence to build a solid personal injury case on your behalf
  • Calculate the full extent of your lost income and other damages
  • Handle all communication and negotiations with the insurance company
  • Defend your rights if the other party tries to blame you for the auto accident
  • Consult medical professionals, economists, and other experts to strengthen your case
  • Take your car accident case to court if a fair settlement cannot be reached with the defendant or the insurance company


Who Pays for Your Lost Wages After a Motor Vehicle Accident?


Sadly, car accidents resulting in severe injuries are an all-too-common occurrence. In 2021, over 2,800 people in Massachusetts were seriously injured in some sort of traffic accident

If you were recently involved in a collision, whoever pays for your loss of income and other damages will depend on the circumstances of your accident and the insurance laws in the state where you live. 

Your attorney may be able to help you recover money for lost income from one or more of the following sources:

  • The at-fault driver’s insurance company: If you live in an “at-fault” insurance state like New Hampshire, you can file an insurance claim with the driver who caused your accident. If your claim is approved, you can receive compensation up to the policy limit. 
  • The driver who caused the accident: If your damages exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, an attorney can help you file a personal injury claim against the negligent driver. You can pursue money for your lost wages, medical bills, and other expenses. 
  • Your insurer: If the other driver was uninsured or underinsured, you could file a car accident claim with your own insurer, depending on the type of coverage you have. 
  • Employer of the negligent party: If the driver who hit you was on the job at the time of the accident, his or her employer could be liable for your damages. For example, if you were hit by a person who delivered flowers, the owner of the flower shop could be accountable for the negligence of the employee.
  • Your employer’s insurer: Were you on the job at the time of the accident? If so, your employer should have a workers’ compensation insurance provider with whom you can submit a claim for benefits.
  • Other negligent parties: Your lawyer will work hard to identify all parties that are liable for your injuries, which could include manufacturers of defective car parts, transit companies, government entities, and other motorists. 

Calculating Lost Wages After a Car Accident


Typically, the calculation of the value of lost wages after a car crash is straightforward. Your average daily wage is multiplied by the number of days you are unable to work. 

As an example, let’s say you are paid $20 an hour for a 40-hour work week. This means you normally make $800 a week. If you are unable to work for 6 weeks, the value of your lost income would be $4,800. 

If you are paid an annual salary, you would need to figure out how much money you would have made in the period of time you are unable to work. For example, if you make $52,000 a year, that is $1,000 a week. Your lost wages for 6 weeks would be $6,000. 

In addition to your loss of regular income, you may be compensated for:

  • Paid time off (PTO)
  • Vacation days
  • Sick days
  • Benefits
  • Bonuses
  • Other paid incentives


Evidence Personal Injury Lawyers Recommend to Prove Your Loss of Income


When you pursue compensation for lost wages, the insurance company may argue that your injuries did not actually require you to take time off from your job. You would then need to provide evidence that your injury is directly linked to the car crash and that your injury interferes with your ability to work. 

First, in order to prove your time away from work was medically necessary, you will need a copy of your medical records and a letter from your doctor. The letter should detail the extent of your injuries, how long they will take to heal, and what (if any) restrictions are necessary upon your return to work. 

Second, you will need to provide evidence backing up the value of your claim. In other words, you will need to show that you really are losing out on the income that you are claiming as compensation. 

The following documents can be used as proof of your lost income:

  • Pay stubs
  • W-2s
  • A letter from your employer
  • Timesheets
  • Income tax returns


Can You Be Compensated for Lost Wages If You Are Self-Employed?


Yes, you can still recover lost wages if you work for yourself. However, proving your lost income can be more challenging if you are self-employed. 

Independent contractors often have incomes that fluctuate. You might have multiple sources of income, and these sources may vary from week to week. You will need to demonstrate what you would have earned from your various income sources if you had not been injured. 

The following are some documents you and your lawyer could use to show your estimated lost wages:

  • Recent invoices: If it is part of your normal business practices to issue invoices, you can submit your most recent invoices as evidence showing how much you normally earn from each client. 
  • Tax forms: Past 1099s and other tax forms can show what you normally earn annually. If your recovery period from the motor vehicle accident lasted one month, you can divide your typical yearly income by 12 to show approximately how much income you lost per month. 
  • Proof of contracts: If you had jobs planned and under contract prior to your injury, you can submit documents to demonstrate work you had lined up but were unable to complete. 

If you are self-employed and unsure about how to recover compensation for lost wages, do not hesitate to reach out to a personal injury attorney. An attorney can help ensure you are fairly compensated for your lost income. 


Pursuing Compensation for Diminished Earning Capacity


Injuries sustained in car accidents may be so severe that they cause permanent or temporary disabilities. If your injury prevents you from working in the same capacity as before the accident, you can pursue compensation for reduced earning capacity. 

For example, a truck driver who hurts his back might not be able to work as a long-haul trucker anymore, but he may still be able to perform maintenance or office duties for the trucking company. 

Factors that play a role in determining the amounts for lost earning capacity include:

  • The severity of the injury
  • Health before the accident
  • Age
  • Number of years until retirement
  • Whether the injury is temporary or permanent

Calculating lost future earnings can be a complex process, so you definitely want a skilled personal injury attorney on your side. 

Your lawyer may contact your employer to testify about your job history, promotion opportunities, and work ethic. Your lawyer could also hire an economist to present data showing how much a person could expect to earn based on salary trends in your line of work. 


Let Kiley Law Group Help You Recover Money for Lost Wages


As a car accident victim, it is understandable that you want to get back to work as quickly as possible. However, it is essential that you follow your doctor’s recommendations and do not return to work until you are fully recovered. Returning to work before you are healed can harm both your body and your compensation claim. 

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, do not miss out on your right to compensation for lost income. At Kiley Law Group, we help accident victims receive money for lost income and other benefits. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there is no fee unless you receive compensation. Schedule a free case consultation with one of our team members today. Call us 24/7 at (978) 965-3228 or complete the contact form here on our website.