Your lost income after an auto accident can accumulate quickly. You might miss work as you recuperate in the hospital; you might have to stay home for weeks or months to recover; you may need to miss work to receive medical treatment for your injuries; and your injuries could even impair your ability to do work in the future. Fortunately, Pennsylvania law allows you to recover this lost income after an accident.
But calculating your lost income is complicated. There are many factors to consider beyond just the wages you aren’t collecting. Work with Saile Law to get an accurate assessment of your lost income and for help navigating the personal injury system in Bucks County.
Which insurance company will pay my lost wages?
First, you have to consider your options to recover damages. The quickest way to get reimbursed for your lost wages is from your auto insurance policy. Review the Declarations Page of your personal injury protection (PIP) policy to see if you purchased lost wage coverage. Your insurance company should pay you for lost wages up to the amount that you purchased on your policy.
Another way to receive compensation for missed work is to file a claim against the person who caused the accident. This is called a third-party claim. In order to recover your lost wages, the other driver’s auto insurance company will make you:
- Prove you were employed;
- Prove the amount of your wages; and
- Prove you could not work.
You’ll also need to prove that the other driver is at fault for the accident and s/he is therefore liable for the accident.
What Lost Income Includes and How to Document It
The lost income you seek through a personal injury claim will include the wages you did not receive because you couldn’t work. But you should also include any benefits that you are losing because of the accident and your recovery.
This includes sick days and vacation time. Even if you used your sick days and vacation days while recovering from your injury, and therefore still received income for these days, you can include this time in your claim.
You should also consider any perks you receive as part of your job. Include your year-end bonuses or other bonuses you might receive throughout the year; use of a company car; and anything else you receive as part of your compensation package at work. You can also point to any missed opportunities to interview for a promotion that would have resulted in a pay raise.
Saile Law can help you create a full and comprehensive list of your lost income, and then properly document it so you can achieve a full recovery. Listed below are some examples of evidence that can prove your lost income:
- A letter from your supervisor detailing your salary and how much time you missed from work as a result of the accident.
- Your tax return from the previous year demonstrating how much you earned.
- Your recent pay stubs provide further evidence of how much you were earning before the accident.
- A note from your treating physician stating you were not able to work during your recovery.
Proving How the Accident Affects Your Ability to Work
If you’re still missing work because of the accident, you will have to estimate how long you expect to be out. There is also the issue, in some cases, of how the accident affects your ability to continue at your current job.
Again, a doctor can evaluate your condition and write you a note or testify about your injuries to state that they prevent you from working, and estimate how long it will keep you out of work. And if your injuries will cause permanent impairment, your doctor can also testify about what those impairments will be and the limitations they will place on your ability to earn a living.
For example, if you worked in a job requiring manual labor and you suffered a back injury in a car accident, your doctor can write you a note explaining that the injury and subsequent treatment kept you from working for a period of time. Your doctor might also testify that the back injury will cause a permanent impairment that will make performing manual labor each day impossible.
Keep in mind that the insurance company might request an independent medical examination (IME). At this IME, a doctor will evaluate your injuries and how they affect your ability to work. If the insurer requests an IME, speak with your attorney prior to your exam so you are prepared for the questions and tests administered at the exam.
Saile Law Helps Accident Victims Prove the Extent of Their Lost Income
Many accident victims overlook losses and expenses that are related to the accident. They may not realize that they can account for sick days and vacation days they used after their accident. Or they may not know how to prove their lost income. This is where having an experienced car accident attorney like Michael L. Saile Jr. can be crucial.
Saile Law can help if you were in an accident in Bucks County and need to recover medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income, and more. Contact our firm today at 215-642-2335 to schedule a free, no-obligation review of your case and start preparing the evidence you need to prove your lost income and other damages.