In every car accident settlement or jury award, the defendant (usually through their insurance company) must put you in the same position that you would have been in had the accident never happened. Of course, nobody can undo the harm that was done to you in a car crash. Instead, they must financially compensate you for what you lost.
Lost Wages Are a Part of Economic Damages
Car accident victims will suffer damages in several areas. Most obvious are the damages that are a direct economic consequence of the accident. For starters, these damages include the complete cost of the medical care that was needed to treat the accident injuries and will be needed in the future. In addition, you will be entitled to property damage for what happened to your vehicle.
Another major part of economic damages from a car accident is lost wages. Had you not suffered an injury in the accident, you would have continued working at your job uninterrupted. You would not have had to miss any time from work, nor would your career path have been interrupted. You may legally be entitled to be paid for all of the money that you would have earned from your job but did not on account of your car accident injuries.
Note that missing work from a car accident does not just mean the time you could not work because of your injuries. Lost wages will also cover the time that you took off or used from your vacation to obtain medical care.
Lost Wages Are About More Than Just Missing Work
Sometimes, you can work but may not do the same amount or type of work that you did before you suffered an injury. You may suffer a reduction in your earnings capacity, or you may only work part-time while you recover from your injuries. You may even miss out on a promotion because you were unable to do the type of work that you could previously have done, or the time missed from the job set your career back. These fully count as lost wages for which you should be compensated.
Lost Wages Are Almost Always in Dispute After a Car Accident
In reality, you may have a serious difference of opinion with the insurance company over what should count as lost wages. The insurance company will take a “prove it” attitude towards your damages. It will naturally resist any type of claim that seeks compensation for a reduction in your earnings capacity. The insurance company may also challenge you on what you would have earned in the future, even though future earnings are an integral part of your lost wages claim.
How to Establish the Amount of Lost Wages You Deserve
Your personal injury lawyer will need to work with experts to establish what you would have learned if your claim goes beyond just the time that you missed from work. These experts can include:
- Vocational experts who will testify about your career path
- Medical experts who can explain your work limitations considering your injuries
- Economic experts who can testify about future inflation and its effect on your earnings
Lost wages are an area where you may have to fight with the insurance company before you can settle your claim.
You Need to Quantify and Prove Your Own Damages in Your Claim
You will need to provide all the proof that you can of your own lost wages. It is helpful to your attorney if you can get organized and present them with the necessary evidence needed to prove your damages claim. You should be prepared to provide information about your pay, including the tax returns, pay stubs, employer letters, and evidence of direct deposit transfers into your bank account.
Your attorney will need to come to the insurance company with a specific amount when you file a claim. They may simply file a claim or send a demand letter to the insurance company. Either way, you need to have a determined supportable amount, or else the insurance company will offer you much less or even deny your claim.
Do Not Go Back to Work Before You Are Ready
From your perspective, you should not try to rush back to work before you have recovered physically. You are risking your own health if you do that. The insurance company will be legally obligated to pay you for a reasonable amount of time missed from work because of your injuries. The potential for financial compensation should keep you from having to work before you are able or ready. Otherwise, you may set back your recovery.
Contact a Wilmington Car Accident Attorney
The Wilmington car accident lawyers at Horton Mendez can work to prove that someone else was responsible for your car accident and will fight for you to receive the maximum possible compensation. Your settlement check should fully compensate you and not reflect the amount that the insurance company simply wants to pay you. We are prepared to prioritize you.
To schedule your free initial consultation, you can call us at (910) 668-8067 or send us a message online.
Car Accident Case FAQs
How do I win a car accident case?
You need to prove that the other driver was negligent, meaning that they acted unreasonably under the circumstances in a way that an ordinary driver would not have.
When should I contact an attorney after a car accident?
As soon as possible. Your attorney will need to gather evidence that can otherwise quickly be lost, keeping you from proving fault in the accident.
Do I need to worry about money when I call a lawyer?
Not only is the initial consultation free, but you do not owe an attorney any money unless you win your case.