Recovering Lost Wages after an Automobile Accident
If someone is involved in a motor vehicle accident, that person may be entitled to collect compensation for any time missed at work. Whether that person misses work because he/she was hospitalized or if the injuries simply prevented that person from being able to perform normal work duties, he/she may have the option to recoup all wages lost.
If this happens to you and you miss work due to hospitalization, injury, or follow-up appointments/treatment, there are a few important steps you must take to protect your rights and preserve your ability to pursue a claim.
2 Types of Proof You Need in Order to Recover Lost Wages
There are 2 key types of documentation you will need to provide in order to successfully recoup your lost wages following a car accident:
- Medical Proof: In cases where you are making a claim against another driver’s insurance coverage, you will likely need to allow the insurance company to access the medical report and records. Take note of these 3 steps to help you gather the basics:
- Sign and return the company’s standard authorization form authorizing them to verify your medical records. Read the form carefully – the insurance company will access your full medical history and could use pre-existing conditions or injuries to reduce your claim. In these cases, it is wise to consult an experienced personal injury attorney.
- Maintain all copies of the accident report, post-accident medical report/assessment, medical invoices, insurance claim documents, and prescriptions. Do not depend on the other driver’s insurance company to catch every detail of your particular case.
- Talk with your doctor about your intent to recover lost wages and ask him/her to provide you with detailed instructions or a statement (on the doctor’s letterhead) specifically detailing your medical conditions and forward treatment plan. A plan outlining mandatory bed rest, follow-up appointments, physical therapy, or anything else causing you to miss work will all help to validate your claim.
2. Employer Proof: Obtain an official letter, statement, or memo (on company letterhead) from your immediate supervisor or from your human resources department.
Missed, unpaid dates should be stated clearly in the letter in addition to gross pay totals, if possible. Even if you used vacation or sick days to cover your missed time, these are considered benefits and are still worth just as much as a regular paid working day. Even is sick/vacation time is used during your injury-related absence, you can still pursue a claim. Ensure your employer letter accounts for every hour and dollar stemming from your absence. Partially missed days and hours needed for follow-up appointments also count toward this requirement.
NOTE: If you are self-employed or work in the performing arts, the process can take more time. Be prepared to justify actual lost wages using past tax returns, customer contracts, offer letters, or cancellation letters. A cancelled contract resulting from your absence should be recoverable.
If you have any questions regarding what to do after being involved in an accident, you should consider contacting an experienced auto accident attorney.