Can I be Compensated for Work Missed After I was Injured in an Accident?
Injured in an Accident Through No Fault of Your Own
When you have been injured in an accident, the problems can seem to stack up. Whether your injuries are serious or relatively minor, it can feel like there is no end to doctor’s appointments, insurance adjuster phone calls, and auto repair bills. All this combined with the mounting stress that comes from trying to manage daily life while addressing the fallout after an accident.
What about work? Did you have to miss work to meet with doctors, attend physical therapy, or recover from your injuries? In the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is possible to make a claim for lost wages when you have been injured in an accident.
Missed Work: Temporary Disability and Time Out for Medical Care
If you missed work after an accident for medical care or to recover from your injuries, it is possible to make a claim for your lost wages. But a claim for lost wages is not limited to hours that you were not able to go to work. In Virginia, you can make a claim for
● Gross earnings missed as a result of an accident
● Sick leave or vacation time used due to an accident
● Missed overtime opportunities, if available to you
● Missed bonuses or opportunities for promotion
Of course, you will need to be able to document and prove these lost wages and opportunities in order to make your claim, but an experienced personal injury attorney can help you organize and submit your claim to the appropriate party.
Permanent Disability and Lost Earning Capacity
Claims for lost wages also extend to circumstances that are more serious. If you were the victim of an accident that caused permanent disability or injuries that limit your earning capacity in your chosen field, it may also be possible to make a claim for lost future wages. To make a claim for lost future wages, you will need a letter from your doctor confirming that he or she anticipates that you will continue to miss time from work due to your injuries.
It may also be appropriate to make a claim for lost earning capacity. This is a compensatory tool designed to help accident victims who are physically or mentally unable to reach their full potential in their chosen careers due to injury.
A claim for lost earning capacity will require demonstrating the following elements:
- You were injured in an accident through no fault of your own.
- Your injuries are permanent.
- Your injuries prevent you from pursuing, succeeding in, or advancing your chosen career path.
If you sustained an injury that requires long term recovery or results in permanent lost earning capacity, it is possible to make a claim for lost future earnings. However, these are much harder claims to prove and are very specific to each case. Talk to an attorney to find out if these claims are appropriate for you.
Making Demand for a Lost Wage Claim
If you have suffered injuries that affected your work, a personal injury attorney can help you put together the appropriate documentation and make demand for your lost wage claim to the appropriate party. Because lost wage claims can be so complicated, the best claims are those that are simple and easy to support with documentation.
To recover lost wages, you need to be able to prove:
- That you missed work because of the injuries suffered in your accident, and
- How much money you would have earned if you had not been injured.
For hourly workers, this is the easiest. You simply need to keep track of hours missed from work due to the accident, and then you can multiply that by your hourly rate.
If you have an employer, whether you are an hourly, salaried, full-time, part-time, or temporary worker, you will need a letter from your supervisor or human resources providing the following information:
● Your name and position
● Your rate of pay at the time of the accident
● The number of hours missed due to the accident, including missed overtime opportunities
If your employer keeps documentation such as a work calendar, timecards, or time sheets, you should keep copies of these documents as well to support your claim.
Although it is easier to show time missed from work when you are employed by someone else, it is still possible to make a lost wage claim if you are self-employed. To do so, you will need to be able to verify your time and income lost due to your injuries. Often, this can be done by providing copies of signed contracts that you were unable to fulfill, records of earnings both before and after the accident, and the previous year’s tax return. If your income is earned through sales commissions and you can prove a history of commissions paid, you can potentially make a claim for those you lost due to the accident.
Whether you are self-employed or work for someone else, a demand for lost wages will likely require documentation beyond proof of wage loss. You will also need to provide documentation of your injuries from your doctor, including a description of all treatments and prescriptions given, as well as how long the doctor recommended or expected you to take time off of work. Medical bills are often the best supporting documentation for a doctor’s letter. If a police report was taken after your accident, this should also be provided as a part of your claim.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured and missed time from work as a result of an accident, remember not to sign anything or speak with the adjuster from the negligent party’s insurance company. Adjusters are experienced in settling cases for less than they are worth. You can combat their experience by hiring an attorney with 30 years of personal injury experience. An experienced personal injury attorney can advocate on your behalf and put together a comprehensive demand package that reflects the full extent of your damages, including time lost from work. Contact Wakefield Law at (703) 771-9740 to discuss your particular claim and any recourse that may be available to you.