Some people are lucky enough to work for employers who invest in paid time off. Others are hourly employees. If they don’t show up to work, they don’t get paid for that day. So what happens if you’re in that latter group, and the reason you’re missing work is because you were involved in a car accident? Is there anything you can do to recover those lost wages?
How to Claim Lost Wages From a Car Accident?
There are several ways you can claim lost wages. How to go about it will depend on the extent of your damages. Below is an overview of a couple different ways you could file this claim.
1. Personal Injury Protection Claim
If the damage from your car accident totaled $10,000 or less, you can file a claim with your own insurance company through Personal Injury Protection (PIP).
Florida law requires that all car insurance policies provide 60% of lost wages in PIP to the following people:
– The named insured
– Relatives residing in the same household
– Persons operating the insured motor vehicle
– Passengers in the motor vehicle
– Other persons struck by the motor vehicle
This type of coverage is available regardless of who was at fault for the accident. To receive these benefits, you must file a claim with your insurance company within 14 days of the accident.
If you wait any longer than that, you’ll be denied.
If your lost wages are more than $10,000 and the other party was at fault, you’ll have to file a lawsuit against the other driver’s insurance company.
2. File a Lawsuit
Litigation isn’t fun for anyone, but it’s sometimes necessary. Since Personal Injury Protection has a limit on how much money you can claim, you can still file a lawsuit for uncovered damages that are a direct result of the car accident.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing this type of claim is four years from the date of the accident. That being said, keep in mind that you have to be able to substantiate all of your claims, and gathering evidence takes time. In addition, the longer you wait to file, the easier it’ll be for the Defendant (the person being sued) to try to claim that your damages were caused by a something outside of the accident.
What if You’re Unable to Work Due to a Disability After a Car Accident?
If the accident was particularly egregious that you sustained injuries that resulted in partial or full disability, you can file a claim for a loss of earning capacity. Granted, this only applies if the disability results in you having to either stop working completely or to have to change your job to a lesser paying position, to accommodate your injuries.
When doing so, the Court will take into account the following factors:
– The severity of the injury
– Your age
– Your education level
– Your work history
– The job you had at the time of the accident
– Any potential job you would’ve been likely to obtain had the accident not occurred
– Your ability to compete in the labor market
You’ll need to provide a preponderance of evidence showing that the accident will indeed cause you to earn less money throughout your lifetime. This might include tax returns, pay stubs, the income of similarly situated people within your industry, medical records, and possibly an expert testimony.
What About Lost Wages From a Car Accident if You’re Self-Employed?
The same way an employee has to provide documents proving lost monies, you can do the same by presenting past tax returns, 1099 forms, invoices, and any additional documents. These particular forms reflect an accurate depiction of how much money you make while working on your own.
If the income varies greatly, you may have to bring in a financial expert to inspect your documents and work history to estimate lost profits.
If you’ve been self-employed for a while and have a steady stream of income, you’ll have an easier time proving your claim than someone who just started their business.
That said, you can still find ways to estimate lost compensation. For example, if you’ve been working in your industry for several years, you can show how much you used to make as an employee, comparable to how much people in the same business with the same experience are making.
In the same way, if you had any potential clients at that time, they could provide written communications of their intent to hire you prior to the accident. You can also bring in an expert to testify as to how much a person with your education and experience would be able to continue making in your specific geographical location.
Call Clark Law if You’ve Been in a Car Accident in Tampa Bay
There are many factors that influence the outcome of a car accident claim. If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. At Clark Law, we have experienced attorneys who regularly represent clients who were involved in a motor vehicle accident, and we can help you determine the best next step.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.