Can I Sue for Loss of Wages Caused by My Houston Car Accident?
You’re headed home from work and all of a sudden, a careless motorist crashes into your vehicle. Your car is totally damaged, a vital body part or even an organ no longer works as it did just moments ago, and you are forced to miss work for weeks or even months without pay.
Such an unforeseen circumstance – and the injuries it can bring along with it – can cause significant financial strain on you and your family. The question is, can you seek settlement for your lost income and suffering? Read on below to learn about your legal options.
What Are Lost Wages?
Lost wages in a car accident case refer to the money you could have earned from the time of the accident until the date of judgment or settlement of your case.
To be able to file such a claim, the bodily injuries you sustained in an accident should have resulted directly from the accident and not from a previous or subsequent event. If this is the case, you are allowed to file for damages to recover the lost income you would have earned if you had not missed work while recovering and receiving treatment.
Bear in mind that lost or reduced capacity to earn and lost compensation can both be classified as separate damages since they are different forms of damages. Lost capacity to earn involves disabilities that lead to diminished working capacity while lost wages are wages that are lost based on the most current rate of pay you enjoyed prior to the accident, not to mention other financial benefits such as bonuses and other employment perks that you would have earned had you not suffered an accident.
Submitting a Lost Wages Claim
Below are some of the options open to you for recovering lost wages in a car crash claim:
- Request your insurance company to offer compensation
- Seek settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- File a lawsuit against the responsible driver to seek compensation in court
Before submitting a claim for lost wages, it would be best to familiarize yourself with what’s included in your insurance policy since your recovery will mainly depend on the types of available insurance coverage. These generally include:
- Bodily injury liability coverage: In case the accident was caused by another driver, you can submit a lost wages claim with their bodily injury coverage
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: In case your accident was caused by a driver who was uninsured or underinsured, your uninsured/underinsured driver cover may offer a certain amount in damages and compensation. For a hit and run accident, you can file for compensation using your uninsured driver coverage
- PIP: Texas is a no-fault state. This means that no matter who caused your accident, you can file for lost wages from your insurer up to the limits of your Personal Injury Protection cover
After making a request for compensation to an insurance company, it will need you to:
- Undergo an independent medical examination
- Submit relevant medical documents
- Obtain an employment authorization form – This form allows your employer to give details about the nature of your job and its benefits to the insurance company
Our attorneys recommend that you make a detailed and accurate statement regarding your lost wages, as doing so will enhance the chances of success of your claim. Inaccurate and incomplete supporting documents will only increase the likelihood of a denial of your claim.
Proving Lost Wages
As you submit your claim, be sure to attach the supporting documents below as evidence:
- A doctor’s note: Prior to taking time off from work, you should have sustained actual personal injuries. To prove this, you’ll require a doctor’s disability slip or note that mentions the number of days your doctor recommends you take off from work. Include this in your claim application
- Paystubs and other wage documents: The easiest and most common way of proving lost wages is by submitting the latest paystubs you received prior to the occurrence of the injury as evidence. In case they’re unavailable, you may submit your tax returns or W-2(s) from the previous year. If you are self-employed, you may submit your tax returns from the previous year or any related documents such as correspondence or invoices to prove the amount of money you would have earned during your recovery period
- A letter from your employer: On top of paystubs, you’ll have to submit an employer’s letter to confirm certain details such as the days you were absent from work, your level of pay, and the number of hours you usually work during every pay period
Professional Legal Help Is Just a Call Away
Simply submitting recent paystubs serves as evidence, but it is not enough to collect lost wages. A lost wages claim involves complex legal issues, and the responsible insurer(s) will do their best to avoid making a fair payout to you after your car accident.
We’re ready to work for you to file for and pursue the claim you deserve. Call us today at 713-677-2179 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation with our legal experts to better understand your legal options and learn how much your claim is worth.
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