A car accident victim’s life can change in an instant when the crash results in devastating injuries. An injured victim may be unable to work following the accident, sometimes for months or even years. In some cases, the victim may be left permanently impaired. Many people are not able to make both ends meet when they lose their job following traumatic events such as car accidents. Fortunately, the law allows accident victims to recover lost wages if they suffer injuries and losses as a result of another person’s negligence or recklessness. However, proving lost wages after a car accident can be challenging. The knowledgeable attorneys at Stabinski Law help clients injured in car accidents in Miami and throughout Florida establish their lost wages following motor vehicle accidents and other traumatic events caused by someone else’s negligence. Stabinski Law offers free consultations so that accident victims can get the information they need to decide how to proceed with their legal case. Call (305) 643-3100 to get a free case review, and ensure your legal rights remain protected.
What Constitutes Lost Wages After a Car Accident?
The term “lost wages” refers to the amount of money a car accident victim could have earned if they did not suffer the injury. When seeking compensation for lost wages, an injured victim is eligible to receive the amount of money he or she could have earned from the date of the accident to the date when the victim obtains compensation either through a settlement or court verdict. However, if the injured party suffers severe impairment or disability that prevents them from working for years to come or for the rest of their life, they can receive compensation for future lost wages.
What Lost Wages Are Recoverable After a Car Accident?
When someone else’s negligence causes or contributes to a victim’s injury, they can be held responsible for the victim’s losses and damages, including but not limited to lost wages. Under Fla. Stat. § 627.7407, Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means injured accident victims can obtain compensation through their own insurance company regardless of fault. Every motorist must carry at least $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which covers the victim’s reasonable medical expenses and a portion of the lost wages. The lost wages that may be recoverable after a car accident include:
- The base pay or hourly wage that a person could have earned if they did not sustain the injury;
- Overtime pay that would have been received from the date of the injury;
- Vacation and sick days the victim missed earning as a result of the injury;
- Bonuses and commissions the victim would have been paid if they continued working;
- Retirement fund contributions that would have been made; and
- Pay/salary increases the victim would have received if they were not injured.
Proving lost wages after a car accident can be a daunting task, especially if the victim did not document their losses properly from the date of the accident. Skilled and zealous attorneys at Stabinski Law can help victims prove their lost wages and assist with recovering damages on their behalf.
Steps to Take to Prove Lost Wages After a Car Accident
Proving the loss of income following a car crash can be a complicated matter, especially when an injured party has to deal with insurance companies. Insurance companies are not interested in fairly compensating car accident victims, which is why insurers may employ various tactics to pay the victim as little as possible. Taking the following steps can make the process of proving lost wages after a car accident less burdensome:
- Follow the doctor’s orders. Accident victims must follow the doctor’s instructions and attend all follow-up appointments. It is essential to keep a record of all days missed from work as a result of attending follow-up appointments.
- Documenting how much time at work has been missed. One of the most important pieces of evidence when proving the loss of income following a car accident is documented proof of the number of hours that were missed.
- Calculating the amount of money that has been lost. The methods for calculating lost wages after a car accident differs depending on how the worker is paid (salaried, hourly, or self-employed).
- Not returning to work before a full recovery. Many accident victims go back to work before they fully recover from their injuries. However, doing so can aggravate the injury and jeopardize a personal injury claim.
Proving Lost Wages After a Car Accident
There are different ways to calculate lost wages after a car accident, depending on how the injured person is paid. If a person is unable to work following a car accident, proving lost wages depends on how they get paid:
- Hourly wage. If a person is paid on an hourly basis, they need to multiply their hourly wage by the number of hours missed from work. According to the United States Department of Labor, the minimum wage in Florida is $10.00 per hour, while a minimum wage for tipped employees is $6.98 per hour.
- Annual salary. A salaried employee can calculate lost wages by dividing their annual salary by 2,080, which is the number of work hours in a year based on a typical 40-hour workweek. Then, the resulting figure should be multiplied by the number of hours missed from work.
- Self-employed. Proving lost wages after a car accident is more challenging for self-employed individuals. Freelancers, independent contractors, sole proprietors, and other self-employed persons need to calculate the loss of income rather than lost wages. This often requires the expertise of a skilled attorney.
Contact the Experienced Car Accident Attorneys at Stabinski Law
Losing income after a car accident can make it challenging to pay for medical treatment. For this reason, Florida law allows accident victims to recover lost wages by pursuing a personal injury claim through their own insurance company or filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party to obtain maximum compensation.
However, proving lost wages after a car accident is not easy because the process involves tons of paperwork and calculation formulas. That is why accident victims often hire an attorney to help them identify all available sources of compensation and calculate the amount of lost wages and benefits they deserve. The experienced car accident attorneys at Stabinski Law have represented injury victims and their families for nearly half a century. Get a free consultation with attorneys at Stabinski Law to discuss your car accident case. Call 305-643-3100 today.