How to Prove Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Case
If you have been injured in a Colorado auto accident, a major consideration in your injury claim is the amount of recoverable damages.
Although an injured person not at fault in an accident is typically eligible for reimbursement for medical bills and property damage, you should not overlook the potential to recover damages for any lost wages as well. This includes income lost while you were unable to work and time away from work while you were receiving treatment for your injuries.
As the injured party, you are entitled to compensation for any income lost because of the accident and the resulting injuries–whether you are employed full-time, part-time, just occasionally, or on a work-for-hire basis.
The right to be reimbursed does not depend on whether you are paid a salary or an hourly wage. Moreover, even if you are able to take sick leave or vacation leave for the time you missed and therefore do not suffer a direct loss of income, you still would have been entitled to use that time for other needs. So being forced to use that time because of the accident is considered the same as losing the income itself.
How to Get Reimbursed for Lost Wages
To receive compensation for lost income, you must be able to prove that the time you missed from work was due to the accident. You must also be able to show the amount of income that would have been earned during the time that was missed.
If you are an employee, collecting information about lost wages is pretty simple. One way is to obtain a letter from your employer stating your name, position, and rate of pay; the hours or days that you normally work and the number of hours or days that you missed following the accident; and whether you took any sick leave, vacation time, or a leave of absence.
If you are a self-employed worker or work sporadically, it can be tougher to demonstrate lost wages. You will need to show how much work time was lost and what you might have earned had you been able to work. A reduction in billing or a calendar showing canceled appointments can help prove that you lost income. If you were working steadily before the accident, you can show an average of what you typically earn during a comparable time period.
If you work only occasionally, you will need to show the value of lost work through evidence of what you earn annually, e.g., a personal income tax return. If your income varies widely from year to year, you must include two or three years of income tax returns to demonstrate your average yearly income.
What about lost opportunities?
In addition to reimbursement for lost work time, you are also entitled to reimbursement for work opportunities you lost due to the accident and your subsequent injuries. Although it may be hard to prove lost income because you could not attend a job interview or could not lead a sales meeting, being able to demonstrate lost potential income can boost your claim to lost wages.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and lost time at work as a result, contact Dan Rosen at (303) 454-8000 or 800-ROSEN-911 to schedule your free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.