Can I Claim Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Claim?
Getting into a car accident comes with a range of consequences, from minor to major injuries and damages to your vehicle. But what happens if you are injured in a way that prevents you from working? How will you continue to support yourself and your family in the event you cannot work? Unfortunately, even minor injuries and conditions can cause serious repercussions in the workplace, not only during the initial recovery phase but for months or even years after. It is important to understand your right to financial recovery for any lost wages as a result of a car accident. If your injury affects your ability to work, make sure you take these 3 steps to protect your income and livelihood.
Get Medical Care and Support From Your Doctor
The best thing you can do for yourself is to seek medical help right away. Even if you are unsure of the nature of your injuries, it is always important to talk to your doctor after a car accident. Underlying issues may not always present with obvious symptoms, and letting these things go untreated can have serious repercussions. By getting help early on, you can immediately identify any problematic areas and health concerns that could affect your personal life and job.
Once you have worked with your doctor, you can begin determining what is feasible in the workplace. Many individuals have labor-intensive jobs that require them to be able to move, lift, squat, and bend throughout the day. Even if you work in an office cubicle, you aren’t immune from disruptions to your work. Sedentary jobs involve maintaining particular postures and can place high pressure on the lower back and often lead to stiffness in the hips and neck if you don’t have an ergonomic setup. Add in a physical injury such as whiplash, spinal misalignment, or any other number of problems, and the workday just became even more challenging.
By talking to a doctor, you can have them review your injuries and current workplace duties to determine if there will be any problems in continuing at your normal capacity. Even if you are still able to move around and sit comfortably, the nature of your work may still be difficult or even impossible due to your new injury. This poses obstacles for workers as they attempt to maintain their normal workload while recovering from a car accident. In some cases, temporary leave may be necessary to fully heal from your injuries, or sometimes short-term reassignment to a new department or shortened work hours may be in order.
Either way you slice it, there is potentially a loss of income because of the change in your physical condition after an accident. By providing medical evidence of your injury and recommendations for healing, you can work with your employer to find the right solution for you. Additionally, a doctor’s note and prescribed treatment is essential for any personal injury claim to demonstrate that the injuries from the accident have affected the victim’s worklife and income potential. Nothing talks quite like docs, and insurance companies will be more apt to pay out the necessary funds if you can prove that your job duties and regular paychecks have been impacted by the car accident.
Collect Pay Stubs From Before and After the Accident
In any job, workers become accustomed to earning a consistent amount of money and have made personal financial decisions based on their monthly income. If even a small part of this budget is affected, it can mean serious struggle and stress to adjust. When you file a personal injury claim, the best way to show an insurance company how your budget has been hit is through documentation. When you get injured in a car accident, you will want to make sure you obtain at least 3 months worth of pay stubs prior to getting in an accident. This will show what your normal income is under healthy circumstances.
The next step is to collect and maintain new pay stubs after the accident occurred. You can then have a clear comparison between your pre-injury income and post-injury pay. This discrepancy is vital when making a case for lost wages and missed income with a personal injury claim. Insurance companies will be able to easily see the pattern of wages prior to the accident and will understand the effects of the accident when compared to your new income. If you aren’t sure where to access or view your pay stubs, you can always talk to your manager, bookkeeper, or human resources department to make sure you understand how to view and access this vital information.
File With Your Own Insurance Policy for Personal Injury Protection
The final step takes some planning ahead. In the event of an accident, we all hope that each person involved is properly insured and that the claim can be quick and easy. Unfortunately, the reality is that in some cases, the other driver may not be insured or there may be a question of fault for the accident. When this happens, payout and financial recovery can be seriously delayed or possibly unavailable. You want to always make sure you have taken the necessary precautions to cover yourself first and foremost to ensure you can get the help, care, and financial support you need to recover.
On an auto insurance policy, you have the option to select Personal Injury Protection. This coverage pays for medical expenses for you and your passengers up to a per-person limit. Typically, the policy will offer the option of either $10,000 per person or $35,000 per person. When you get in an accident, this coverage can be used right away with no out-of-pocket expense regardless of fault. That means that even if you did cause the accident, you can still use your own insurance policy to pay for doctor visits, specialty treatment, and emergency care required to care for your injuries. This essential coverage also covers lost wages due to injury in an accident, so you can still maintain your livelihood even if you are responsible for an accident. No one plans to be in a wreck, so it is always best to be prepared for the worst-case scenario so you never have to worry about threatening your financial security and lifestyle.
Get Legal Support
All of this can be very overwhelming to tackle alone, which is why a personal injury lawyer is an essential part of any post-accident plan. Contact Hohaia Law to see how your personal injury lawyer Kia can support you in recovering lost wages after an accident.