How to Recover Lost Work Income After a Car Accident
You have been seriously injured in a car accident caused by another driver. As a result of your injuries, you have been out of work since the accident and have lost a significant amount of income. Your family is trying to get by on one paycheck instead of two. Even though someone else caused the accident, you find yourself struggling to pay your household bills. You wonder if you can recover any of your lost income.
A knowledgeable Atlanta car accident lawyer at Millar & Mixon can help you recover lost income and other damages due to an accident cause by another driver’s negligence. Let us review the facts of your traffic accident and explain your legal options for seeking monetary compensation to cover your losses. You may have a right to seek lost work income whether you worked full-time, part-time, earned wages or were salaried. Please understand that your loss of work income due to another’s negligence is not a burden you have to carry by yourself. We are here to help and are just a phone call away.
Car Accidents Involve Multiple Types of Damages
When an individual is seriously injured in a car accident or other type of personal injury accident, the injuries may cause the person to miss weeks or months of work. After a catastrophic accident, an individual may not fully recover. You may be physically disabled and unable to handle the physical demands of your former job. An accident victim may have to take a less demanding job and have reduced earnings capacity.
Under Georgia law, an accident victim is legally entitled to recover monetary compensation for losses suffered in an accident caused by another’s negligence. Lost work income is categorized as “special damages” under Georgia law.
The special damages are those that are quantifiable, such as the costs of medical bills, physical therapy and lost income. You can put a hard number on the cost of these losses.
Other types of damages that are recoverable as part of a personal injury claim are general damages. General damages include things such as pain and suffering and lost future earnings capacity, which are less easy to quantify precisely. A Georgia jury may award damages for lost future earning capacity.
Important Evidence for Income Recovery
Your lost wages or income should be fairly straightforward to quantify based on your actual earnings prior to the accident and how many weeks or months you had to miss work due to your injuries. If you made $4,000 a month and missed three months of work without pay after using up any paid sick leave, your lost income would be $12,000.
Payroll statements, paycheck stubs and a letter on company letterhead stating your position and monthly income will provide evidence of your income prior to the accident. If your income fluctuates and you had a low income year, it may be useful to calculate your average income based on several years of tax returns. Also of use as evidence is your work calendar showing the sales calls that had to be canceled or missed appointments.
In many cases, a serious injury may cause physical limitations and long lasting changes in your ability to work. You may reasonably expect to have reduced future earnings capacity as a result of many types of disabling accidents causing spinal injuries and traumatic brain injuries. Earnings capacity describes what a person is able to earn.
Testimony from medical experts about your medical condition and work limitations with earnings projections by financial planners are used to estimate the financial impact of an accident on your future income stream and your lost future earnings capacity. A jury may award an accident victim compensation for the loss of ability to earn a living.
Good Lawyers Help Your Chances of Recovery
A skilled and knowledgeable accident attorney will investigate the accident and present a claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance company that recognizes the full value of an accident victim’s losses including such damages as lost income and lost future earnings capacity. Some of these damages are difficult to calculate without the help of financial experts.
Insurance companies often make settlement offers that are substantially less than the fair value of the claim. An injured person who is dealing with an insurance claim for the first time will be at a disadvantage. An experienced lawyer will have a better sense of the fair value of the claim and can improve your chances of obtaining full compensation for your damages.
Is Lost Income a Damage that Can be Recovered in a Lawsuit?
Yes. Lost income is considered a special damage that you may recover compensation for through a personal injury lawsuit.
If I Won’t Be Able to Work for Two Months, How Does that Work?
If are injured in a car accident caused by another driver, you would need to submit a claim for your injuries to the at-fault driver’s insurance company for payment. If the driver was uninsured or underinsured, you would need to make a claim for compensation through your own UM/UIM insurance policy.
After any serious accident, you may need to take time off work. You may have to use your accumulated vacation and sick leave. If you have worked for an employer for a lengthy period of time, you may have several weeks of accumulated sick leave and vacation that you can use. Clearly, you would not have had to take that leave time except because of the accident so a skilled personal injury could include the value of that leave time as part of your damages caused by the accident.
If you file a personal injury claim, you may be able to claim monetary compensation from the person who caused the accident for the value of your sick leave and vacation you had to use. Your lost income and used sick leave during the time you were unable to work would be part of your damages.
What If I Lost My Job Because I Couldn’t Show Up to Work for a Few Weeks?
Unless your job is protected by an employment contract or union contract, you could lose your job if you have been injured in an accident and cannot show up for work for several weeks. It does not seem fair to lose your job because someone else was driving recklessly and injured you in an accident.
Your job loss would mean lost income. A knowledgeable accident lawyer could advise you about your rights to recover compensation for your lost income by filing a personal injury claim.
Contact Millar and Mixon Law Firm: GA Car Accident Lawyers
Not ready to chat? Use these free resources to help you get the information you need:
For more information, the team at the Millar and Mixon Law Firm, LLC are here to help. With years of experience helping victims of car accidents get the compensation they deserve, the team of attorneys at Millar and Mixon can help you too. Call today!