Being injured in an automobile accident is always stressful and disrupting to your life, but when that injury results in financial issues, the impact doubles. Most people expect some benefits from the insurance company, such as medical expenses and a car repair, but few realize that you can file a personal injury suit and gain so much more. Lost wages are just one type of compensation that you are entitled to receive, so read on to learn more about this benefit and how it is calculated.
What is included in the lost wages calculation?
Any work you missed because of the accident, from your car wreck up to the present and the predictable future, should be counted as time that can be reimbursed. This includes:
- Your hospital stays.
- Doctor's appointments.
- Diagnostic procedures (like imaging or blood work).
- Physical therapy sessions.
- Time spent filling prescriptions.
- Mental health therapy.
- Commute time to and from all of the above.
- Time spent recuperating at home.
- Time spent dealing with getting a replacement vehicle, rental or car repair accomplished.
Keeping up with your lost wages expenses
Make sure to keep a journal or notebook of all time spent doing any of the above tasks. It's especially easy to forget to note your commute time, so keep a notebook in the car or use a timing app on your smart phone. You will need to supply physical evidence of each event, so make sure you have receipts or other documents to show the appointment or trip.
Proof of your wages
No matter how unusual or erratic you work schedule, you are entitled to receive lost wages benefits. The means of providing proof of your employment and the amount of your salary can vary, depending on the type of job you have:
- Hourly employees (both full time and part time) should provide a pay stub, or several if your pay varies somewhat from paycheck to paycheck.
- Employees who are paid on a salary basis should provide a letter from your company that states your rate of pay and hours required.
- Self-employed people should be prepared to show tax returns for a couple of years and/or several months of bank statements to show income.
- People who work seasonally, on-call or irregularly should provide a tax return or company statement showing the times normally worked and the wage.
A note about sick leave and vacation pay
Your time-off benefits are a valuable perk of your job, and you should not be expected to use that time for tasks related to the accident. Keep up with time used and be prepared to show your pay stub for proof to gain reimbursement.
Staying on top of employment and wage records can be challenging when you are injured; be sure to seek the help of a personal injury attorney to help ensure that you get all the compensation to which you are entitled.
For more information, contact Elliott & MacLean LLP or a similar firm.