Lost Wages

By Joseph M. Wilson, Jr., Attorney at Law

If you are injured in an auto accident, there is a chance that your injury will result in your missing work and losing income. When you (or your attorney) present a request for settlement to the insurance company, these lost wages must be fully documented to be considered for reimbursement. So how do you document lost wages? Here are the basic steps:

  1. Ask for a doctor’s note stating that you cannot work and another note when you are released to return to work. Make sure you keep copies of both.
  2. Make sure your employer is aware that any time missed is due to an auto accident. Ask your manager or HR department for a letter documenting all days missed due to the accident and detailing how much pay was lost due to missed days. Make certain they include any sick days or vacation days you were required to take based on their sick time policies. You may ask to be reimbursed for this time, as well.
  3. If you would have been eligible for overtime and have a history of working overtime, ask that this be documented, as well.
  4. If you are paid on commission, ask your HR department for historical records showing commission payments.
  5. If you are self-employed, documenting your income can be harder. You should be able to claim the cost of hiring a worker to replace you or claim the value of lost income while you were out of work. To do this, you may need to provide tax records for the past several years to document what your average income has been.

If you lose your job due to missing work, or in a situation where your injury is permanent and you are unable to return to the same type of work at an equivalent wage, you may need to hire an expert to help calculate the value of lost wages. If your case is complicated, you may wish to consult with an auto accident attorney in your state.


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