What You’ll Need to Do to Make a Colorado Accident Claim
One of the most stressful aspects of getting injured in an automobile accident is not being able to return to work – immediately, after a period of time, or even indefinitely.
It does not matter whether you were employed full-time or part-time, if you are unable to work after suffering injuries in an auto accident, you are entitled to file a legal claim to recover:
- Lost wages due to missed work.
- Missed opportunities for overtime.
- Vacation and sick leave used to avoid taking unpaid leave from work.
- Any bonuses you might have been entitled to.
- Money you might have earned through special projects.
- Non-monetary benefits you missed while unable to work.
Proving a Lost Wages Claim
To be compensated for lost wages, you’ll generally need to prove the following two things:
- You missed work (and wages) because of injuries sustained in the accident.
- The amount of compensation you would have received had you not gotten hurt.
Proving that you missed work and lost income because of your injuries will require several things, including documentation of your income, such as pay stubs or a copy of your most recent tax return, documentation of your injuries from your doctor in the form of medical records and billings, a disability slip outlining how much time you need to take off work to recover, and proof of the income lost, usually in the form of a letter from your employer.
Lost wage calculations will typically differ depending upon whether you are paid on an hourly basis or if you earn an annual salary. For those earning an hourly wage, lost wages are determined by multiplying the amount of the wage by the number of hours missed due to the injury. For those paid by an annual salary, the amount of the annual salary is divided by 2080 (the number of weekday hours in a year) and then multiplied by the number of hours missed.
Lost Income or Loss of Earning Capacity?
In the case of a serious injury, an individual may be out of work indefinitely, or suffer from a loss of earning capacity, meaning that due to the severity of their injuries, they have suffered a decrease in their ability to earn income, and can no longer perform the duties of the job they held before the accident.
If an injury victim’s ability to earn income in the future is significantly diminished, they may have a loss of earning capacity claim. Loss of earning capacity is typically determined through a complicated calculation that involves:
- A thorough review of the injured person’s work history, specifically their skills, talents, abilities, and experience.
- The testimony of an expert medical witness who can speak to the extent of the injury and how it will most likely affect future ability to earn income.
- The use of current market values and wage rates to calculate the anticipated income that will be lost in the future.
Loss of earning capacity calculations commonly vary according to region, since different parts of the country are associated with different standards of living.
Generally, lost earning capacity claims are much more challenging to establish than lost income, since determining lost earning capacity involves making complicated predictions about a person’s future ability to work, while lost wage claims are based on a simple examination of the injured individual’s payroll records.
If the injuries you sustained in an automobile accident are keeping you out of work, contact Colorado Attorney Daniel R. Rosen to talk about compensation for your damages.