Your injury case may be omitting thousands of dollars in lost wages.
In the whirlwind of litigation, do not let well-deserved compensation go unclaimed. You are entitled to far more than you realize!
If you have been in an accident or suffered a pharmaceutical injury, you may be able to get back your lost wages, future earnings, and more. Keep reading to learn more.
Personal Injury Claims
According to the Center for Disease Control, around 3 million people experience non-fatal auto accident injuries each year. And it is not just the accident victims who feel the consequences.
The economy takes a hit as well, with tens of billions of dollars in productivity loss and medical costs each year, resulting from auto accidents, according to the CDC website.
Keep in mind that this statistic applies only to auto accidents. These numbers do not account for the other types of accidents and mishaps we have come to know collectively as “personal injury” cases.
Personal injury cases include injury to your body through an accident that was no fault of your own. You may be familiar with the usual suspects:
- Auto accidents
- Dog bites
- Medical malpractice
Add pharmaceutical injuries to this list.
The opioid epidemic did not spare Florida by any means. The crisis has affected thousands of Floridians, and many lawsuits throughout the country involving Oxycontin are personal injury cases, as well as mass tort cases.
Whatever the mechanism of injury, whether it was a drug recall or a medication that was mis-prescribed or mislabeled, you need to know about everything you are entitled to.
While personal injury law varies by state, most laws entitle you to compensation for damages. Qualified damages can include:
Medical expenses are the obvious, and sometimes most significant, damage you need to list under your injury claims. Initial expenses, like emergency room visits, diagnostic tests like X-rays and MRIs, and procedures like surgeries, all qualify as medical expenses.
Your attorney will often contact the hospital directly to recover all of the bills associated with an accident. However, do not forget about follow-up procedures, as well as rehab services like physical therapy or visits to the chiropractor.
You will be responsible for all other ancillary medical services you seek in the months (and years) after an accident.
Your auto accident may have resulted in your car getting totaled. If a car hits you while riding your bicycle, your bike may have suffered expensive damage as well. If an accident led to your property undergoing significant, costly damage, you would need to keep a record of it.
Gather all of the evidence you can to prove property damages, especially photos. The more proof, the better. You may need to collect damage assessments or professional appraisals of the value of your property pre-accident.
So, if you are reading this and you want to be a good, claims-conscious citizen, take the time to appraise your property before the worst-case scenario occurs.
Pain and Suffering
The law allows you compensation for emotional distress that results from an accident. “Pain and suffering” is the most subjective of all the damages you can claim, and it is the area that generally gets gutted first when the lawyers start to do their thing.
Nevertheless, if you have been injured, you are entitled to money above and beyond your medical expenses and property damage. Often, your attorney will calculate “pain and suffering” damages as a fixed percentage of your total damages.
Finally, a significant portion of damages includes your right to lost wages. What many people do not realize is that lost wages involve more than just missed work. Here is what you need to know.
The Ballad of Lost Wages
When it comes to lost wages, most people think of the base pay they lost while out of work. For example, if you are a delivery driver making $20 an hour, and you missed two weeks’ worth of work because of an auto accident, you might assume that you are only allowed to claim two weeks’ worth of base pay.
Not so. As it turns out, your base salary is just the beginning. Here are some other wage forms you need to consider for your lost wages claim.
If your paycheck regularly included overtime, you will want to include overtime wages as recoverable damages. Often, companies allow their employees ample over time, and if your budgeting depended on overtime wages, they are fair game!
2) Vacation and Sick Days
The law in most states considers it an undue burden to have to use sick days or vacation time to recover from an injury that was the fault of another. Include any sick or vacation days that you may have had to use during the time you were out of work.
3) Retirement Fund Contributions
While out of work, you may have missed regular payroll contributions to your IRA or an employer’s match to a retirement fund, as well as contributions to Social Security. Calculate what you would have saved had you not been injured and include it in your claim.
4) Bonuses and Commissions
If you missed out on a performance-based compensation or a promotion you were in line to receive, you can calculate the lost income and include this in your claim as well.
5) Pay Raises
You may have planned on receiving a pay raise or cost of living raise from your employer that your injury was delayed or canceled. Pay raises often come hard-won, only after years of toil. If the timing of your accident was unfortunate enough to interfere with your raise, you should include this loss in your claim.
6) Bonus Days
An accident may have robbed you of certain bonus days. Bonus days can include birthdays, personal leave, and paid holidays that overlapped with your forced time off, thanks to your injury.
7) Future Earnings
In the event of a severe permanent and debilitating injury, you may never be able to work in the same capacity again. Your injury has affected your ability to work forever. If this is the case, you must be sure to claim all future income.
You will need to show proof of lifetime work expectancy, or how many working years you had until retirement. You will also need to account for your educational training pre-injury, plus your capacity to learn a new skill post-injury.
Whether you had to miss a week of work or a year, you need to know what the law entitles you to. At Beltz and Beltz, our legal team can help you get you what you deserve, no matter the type of personal injury case.
From drunk driving to rideshare accidents, we understand how to represent you in any situation where you have been injured by no fault of your own.
Evidence for Your Lost Wages Claim
As with anything involved in a legal case, the more evidence you have to support your side of the story, the better. When it comes to a lost wage claim, here are the key pieces of proof you need to gather up to make your case.
1) Doctor’s Narrative
Your physician should be able to provide a testimonial as to your injuries, including the diagnosis and an estimated timeline for recovery. A doctor’s narrative is key to bolstering your case; it can show that your injuries have legitimately prevented you from earning a living.
Devastating injuries are often not visible. For example, injuries that involve the spine may leave you able to walk and get around, but not much else.
To the naked eye, you may seem fine. But you are unable to lift, sit for extended periods, or otherwise perform the demands of a full-time job. It might take a doctor vouching for your disability to make a valid case for lost wages.
2) Proof of Income
Secondly, you need to be able to provide written documentation from your employer of the amount of work you missed, including:
- The dates you were absent
- Hours you usually worked during each pay period
- Overtime, promotions, special projects, prizes, and commissions due to you
- Sick days, vacation days, or other perks or benefits
If you are self-employed, you will need documentation proving that you owned a business, as well as tax forms, tax returns, profit and loss statements, plus any communication between you and clients regarding your lost income.
Remember, the statute of limitations is just two years for most states and four years in the state of Florida. This means that, whatever evidence you need to gather, you have an ample—but also limited–amount of time in which to collect it.
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you do not pay if you do not win.
Above all, you will want to contact a qualified personal injury lawyer.
After seeking medical attention, getting legal representation should be at the top of your list after an accident.
Contact us today to see how we can help you recover all of your lost wages resulting from an injury.