You are cruising home from your job at 5 pm. Suddenly, a truck slams into you from behind at a traffic light. Your car is wrecked. Worse, you have a broken arm and leg. Working is out of the question for at least six weeks. These serious personal injuries may prevent you from paying your mortgage and other bills. The financial devastation could cripple your family.
In cases such as this, filing a personal injury claim can help you obtain compensation for your lost income. Keep reading to learn what evidence is necessary to present a solid lost earnings claim.
What Is a Lost Earnings Claim?
Accident victims often miss work because of their injuries. If injuries are minor, a victim can return to work relatively quickly. In many cases, however, a victim may be out of work for a long time. Sometimes he can never return to work. The amount of income a victim loses due to his injuries is the basis for a lost earnings claim.
To succeed in such a claim, first and foremost, the victim’s injuries must be the result of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. No other events may have caused the injuries.
In addition, the victim must show how much he lost in earnings because of the accident. Past lost wages for hourly workers is easy to calculate. Proving future lost earnings, money that would have been earned but for the accident, is more difficult. Victims must first prove what they would likely have earned in the future, then prove how the accident reduced the power to earn the same amount.
Your Right to Compensation for Lost Earnings
California courts have ruled that personal injury victims should be reimbursed for all income lost due to their injuries. This includes wages and other compensation a victim would have received had he not been injured.
A lost income claim can include:
- Past & Future Lost Wages – compensation for wages lost while recovering from injuries
- Other lost benefits – compensation for financial benefits other than wages, like sick and vacation days, bonuses, and other perks
- Lost earning capacity – compensation for a victim’s reduced ability to work due to permanent injuries. This considers financial losses going forward for people who cannot return to the same or similar job. It is based on a variety of factors, including employment history, job skills, educational background, economic lifestyle and earnings history
- Lost opportunity – compensation for opportunities missed during recovery, such as a promotion
How to Submit a Solid Lost Earnings Claim
The options for recovering lost earnings after a personal injury accident are to file one of the following:
- A claim with your own insurance company
- A claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- A lawsuit against the at-fault driver
Before submitting your lost earnings claim you should either be back to work full time or know how much future lost earnings you will be incurring. You do not want to speculate about when or if you will be able to return to work at full capacity.
Proving Lost Earnings – Verifiability Is Key
Filing a successful lost earnings claim depends upon the verifiable proof you present. Examples of evidence that constitutes verifiable proof of lost earnings are:
- Physician’s note: Have your doctor prepare a detailed report of injuries including a diagnosis; prognosis; treatment required; and approximate time needed for full recovery
- Pay stubs: Collect a few of your most recent pay stubs prior to your injury. This is generally the simplest way to verify your lost earnings. If you cannot get pay stubs, turn in your W-2s or your last tax return.
- Company letter: A letter from your employer is key. It should confirm the number of days missed; hourly pay or salary; any overtime you normally worked; special projects you were working on; promotions you were being considered for; vacation, sick or bonus days you used during recovery; any benefits lost or performance bonuses you lost
For the self-employed, proving lost wages is more complex but certainly doable. You must illustrate the work time lost, and what you would have earned in that time. Current Financial Statements and several years of Tax Returns are very helpful to prove lost earnings for self-employed individuals. If a business is complex, there may be the need for a Forensic Accountant to forecast future lost earnings. The same holds true for workers who earn commissions.
An Experienced Long Beach Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
Whoever causes an accident is responsible for compensating injured victims. As a Long Beach personal injury lawyer, my job is making sure my clients are fully compensated for their damages. In addition to lost income I help victims receive compensation for medical costs, and non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.
For more than 30 years, I have been proving, and collecting, lost income for my clients. Verifiable evidence is vital to proving a lost income claim. I work with experts in the medical and financial fields to gather evidence needed to prove the full extent of lost income.
If you were injured in an accident caused by another person, you may be entitled to lost earnings. I can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation with me today. Contact the Law Office of Michael D. Waks. Call me at 888-394-1174 or fill out the online contact form..
You are under no obligation and you will never pay any money unless you recover damages for your injuries.
I offer bilingual services and I am available 24/7 to talk to you about your case.
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