If you are involved in a car accident, whether you are a pedestrian, a car driver, or a passenger in a vehicle, and you are injured, you have the right to be awarded a settlement pay for lost wages. This is the money you would have received as a salary from your employer from the time of the car accident on the day of the verdict.
To be eligible for damages for lost wages, your injuries must be as a result of a car accident, and not from any other intervening events. You will be eligible for settlement pay of amount equivalent to the sum of your wages for the period you missed work while getting medical treatment and recovering from your injuries.
Car accident settlement pay for your lost wages can factor in lost earning capacity and lost compensation to be considered individually as different types of damages.
Lost earning capacity considers any incapacitation that leads to the inability to perform work. On the other hand, lost compensation does not consider only lost wages, but also loss of other financial benefits. For example, pay bonuses and other employment perks you would have received if you were not involved in a car accident.
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Submitting Settlement Claim for Lost Wages
You have several options available to submit a settlement claim for lost wages in a car accident:
- You can request your insurance company
- You can file a request to the insurance company of the person-at-fault
- You can file a claim directly against the driver in court
Wait until you are near recovery in your medical treatment and that your condition is stable before filing a car accident settlement pay for your lost wages.
Before you submit a settlement pay claim for lost wages to an insurance company, take the time to understand what is covered under the terms of the insurance policy. The kind of damages for the compensation you are eligible to get from an insurance provider is likely to depend on the type of insurance coverage as stated in the terms and conditions.
Insurance Coverages for Settlement Pay of Lost Wages
- Uninsured or underinsured Motorist Coverage: A car accident can occur by a driver who is not insured, so you will be eligible for settlement pay through your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, if offered
- Personal injury protection coverage: this ensures you are awarded settlement pay for your lost wages by your insurance company regardless of who’s at fault based on the policy limit under PIP coverage
- Liability bodily injury coverage: if the driver of the other car is the one at fault, you will be eligible for settlement pay for your lost wages through that driver’s liability bodily injury insurance cover
Once a claim for a car accident settlement pay for lost wages has been made, you will be required to:
- Undergo an independent medical checkup
- Submit other medical documentations
- Send an employment authorization form that shows information about your employment status to an insurance company.
When you are filing a claim, ensure that information you provide is detailed enough and accurate regarding your application for lost wages as a result of a car accident. This is very important because if any of the documents provided as evidence is incomplete or not accurate, you risk your car accident settlement pay for lost wages being denied.
Providing Proof of Lost Wages
When filing for a car accident settlement pay for lost wages, you are required to provide supporting documentation as proof of lost wages. You will be required to provide:
- Medical proof: you will be required to show a doctor’s note as proof that you are not able to attend to work because you’ve sustained injuries from a car accident. This note should contain the recommended time you are allowed to be off-work as you recover from your injuries.
- Employer letter: you are required to send a letter from your employer that shows the number of days you were not present at work, your pay equivalent, and the number of hours you are assigned to work each day.
- Paystubs or Other Wage Documents: when you submit your most recent paystubs, it is easier to prove lost wages. In case they are not available, you can instead send your previous tax return. You can also submit invoices or written communication that shows the amount of money you would have earned in that period the previous year.
Proof of Lost Earning Capacity
It is delicate to prove lost earning capacity because it involves speculation about the future. Depending on the type of job you do and the seriousness of your injury, it can be difficult to prove you will have a reduced earning capacity after recovery.
Even more challenging is to prove the equivalent amount of your earning capacity. The easiest proof is comparing paychecks before and after an injury to show the extent of lost earning capacity.
It requires a financial or economic expert to fully ascertain the amount in lost opportunities you would have earned were it not for a car accident you got involved in that got you injured. Some of the things factored in the analysis include your character trait, work habit, education, and ambition.
Determining lost earning potential can be more complicated if your injury is permanent. Often the biggest stake to determine in such a case is not who was at fault, but the nature and extent of the injured victim’s damages.
In a trial, the jury or judge has ample authorization to determine the amount of money that should be given as settlement pay. They are at liberty to pick a number for the award, even if the proof is evasive and not strong enough.