How to Prove Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Claim
You are grocery shopping after a busy day in the office, checking items off the list to prepare dinner for your family. You turn down the frozen food aisle, and suddenly you’re on the floor in excruciating pain. It seems that one of the freezer units broke, causing all the frozen goods to defrost and leak all over the floor. Since a wet floor sign was missing, you see the puddle too late to avoid it, slip and fall, and sustain head and back injuries. You’re now out of work for months and unable to make money to cover your bills and other living expenses.
Perhaps you’re considering filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party who caused your accident, but you have no clue how to calculate your lost wages. Leave it up to the Colorado personal injury lawyers at the Mintz Law Firm to establish the full extent of your lost wages. In the meantime, here’s some valuable insight on what lost wages are and how to prove them after an accident in Colorado.
Understanding Lost Wages in Personal Injury
When you’re physically incapable of returning to work after an accident that results in disabling injuries, we can all agree that the current and future state of your life is highly uncertain. This is why the state of Colorado allows victims to recoup the money they would have earned had they been able to work and the accident never occurred.
How much compensation is awarded for lost wages is usually determined by the amount of money you would have made from the date of your accident to the date a settlement or verdict is reached. Keep in mind that your lost wages must have a direct link to the injuries you suffered in the accident, such as having to seek medical treatment and rehabilitative recovery care. Your claim can’t be based upon the failure to travel to and from work because of a damaged vehicle or some other circumstance not related to your injury.
What About Lost Financial Benefits?
Lost wages don’t just constitute your general salary or an hourly wage. Depending on your employee compensation policy and package, you may have a number of financial benefits that you would typically exhaust or earn in the average workweek. Some of the major types of employee financial benefits include:
- Sick days
- Paid time off
- Vacation days or personal time
- Workplace perks
Note: Lost Wages and Lost Earning Capacity Are Separate
When claiming lost wages, including lost financial opportunities, it’s good to know the difference between lost wages and lost earning capacity. Lost wages consider the income you’ve directly lost. Lost earning capacity refers to the wages you may be unable to earn in the future due to impairment. This includes promotional gigs, raises, and the ability to hold employment in general.
Evidence You Need to Prove Lost Wages
Proving your income-related losses involves several forms of evidence to ensure you’re fully compensated. Insurance companies or the court may request documentation detailing your injuries and your employment information. To be properly prepared, start by gathering the following documentation:
- Doctors’ notes describing your injuries, medical treatment, and recovery time
- Wage statements, tax returns, and paystubs outlining your earnings and financial benefits
- Letter from your employer verifying your employment, title, employment dates, dates missed from work, employment type, pay rate, overtime hours, overtime pay rate, compensation policy, financial benefits, and other perks
Note: Proving Lost Wages for Self-Employed Workers is Complex but Possible
When you’re self-employed, filing a claim for lost wages tends to be a little more complicated because you don’t always have a steady income stream. Therefore, analyzing business records, wages, and revenues and estimating a value for your losses may require expert-level thinking. Partnering with a resourceful Colorado injury attorney who knows how to handle difficult situations with grace can take the worries off your plate.
Press for Lost Wages Compensation with Mintz Law
The worst part about accidents often isn’t just your injuries or medical bills—it’s the missed time from work and lost wages as a result. Even just a week or two missed from work could be the income you need to pay to feed your family or keep the electricity on in your home. It’s not fair that due to someone else’s reckless misconduct, you and your family must suffer.
The personal injury lawyers at the Mintz Law Firm will put our extensive legal knowledge to work for you strategically. We know that to be of value, we must provide flexible solutions to accommodate your needs. We represent injured accident victims harmed by the negligence of another person, company, or large entity in Colorado. To get started on your case with a free, zero-obligation case review, call (303) 462-2999 or complete a contact form today.