Can I Claim Lost Wages After a Car Accident?

A car accident can be devastating. That’s why most policies include provisions for lost wages or other sources of income.

Getting the compensation you deserve means submitting the documentation you need to prove your case. The New York City car accident lawyers at our firm can help you with this step. We can also help you to explore options for receiving compensation that you might have otherwise overlooked.

The lingering effects of lost income

Millions of Americans live paycheck to paycheck– rarely if ever setting aside money for a rainy day. This means that losing one’s job or other sources of income can have a significant effect on household finances. U.S. law allows accident victims to bring suit against negligent parties and their insurers to recover these lost funds.

So, what kinds of documentation will insurance companies or courts of law accept? Here are some of the most common examples:

  • Paycheck stubs: These should reflect your average income at the time before the collision. You may need to check with your office manager or human resources department to obtain these records.
  • Receipts or paid invoices: Most self-employed people don’t receive a “paycheck” in the traditional sense of the term. They can submit forms such as invoices to clients or receipts for payment instead.

What about compensation for lost overtime?

American hourly workers are entitled to overtime, or “time and a half” wages, whenever they work more than 40 hours per week. But whether you can include overtime pay in your claim may depend on how often you work past 40 hours.

For example, let’s say that you’re a carpenter who earns $15.00 per hour, and you typically work no more than 40 hours a week. You may have a tough time convincing the insurance company to compensate you for missed overtime wages– since you rarely earn them.

Of course, you may be able to change their minds if you can prove that your work hours were about to increase before the accident. This is another scenario in which having the right documentation, and the right personal injury lawyer— can make all the difference in the world.

Other potential factors that can affect a lost income claim

Remember, the goal of compensation is to match the income you would have earned during your period of recuperation. Here are some possible scenarios that can affect the total amount you receive:

  • Interrupted work training programs: For example, let’s say that you were enrolled in a computer programming class when your accident occurred. The insurance company or the court may compensate you for the amount of added income you would have earned, had the accident not prevented you from completing your studies.
  • Reduced earning potential: Another possible scenario is that the accident reduced your ability to earn money going forward. Returning to the carpenter example from before, let’s say that you lost an arm in the accident. This makes it impossible for you to do your job, entitling you to added compensation for the future income you will never earn.
  • Lost or destroyed tools of the trade: Sticking with the carpenter example, let’s imagine that you escaped the wreck uninjured. But the collision did destroy the tools and equipment you use to practice your trade. You may be entitled to added compensation to replace these items, as well as any income you missed during the time you were without them.

Confused? A New York car accident lawyer can help

Obtaining compensation for lost income is complex. That’s why we recommend seeking the help of a qualified attorney. They can help you to maximize the amount you receive.

Here at Douglas and London, our New York City personal injury lawyers have recovered more than $4 billion in settlements and verdicts for our clients. Put our expertise to work for you by contacting our office today. Consultations are always free, and we’re available any time day or night.