Lost Wages After a Car Accident
A car accident could change your life. A physical injury could cause emotional strife, physical pain, expensive bills and lost wages. Lost wages can be a significant drain on your family’s income after a car accident. As a crash survivor, you may need to take days or weeks off work during hospital stays or while in recovery. If a car accident injury causes long-term disability, you may need to take a lower-paying job or go into early retirement. In Arizona, civil laws could give you the right to seek compensation for lost wages from an at-fault party after a car accident.
Are You Eligible for Wage Recovery?
Arizona civil laws enable car accident victims to seek recovery for both economic and noneconomic compensatory damages. Lost wages fall under the category of economic damages in a car accident case. Economic damages are monetary losses such as vehicle repairs, medical expenses and legal fees. If someone else was at fault for your car accident, you could have the right to seek lost wage reimbursement if the accident interfered with your ability to work.
- Made you take unpaid sick or medical leave
- Forced your spouse or caregiver to take unpaid leave
- Made you miss work to attend doctor’s appointments or rehabilitation
- Temporarily or permanently took away your ability to do your job
- Forced you to work part-time instead of full-time
- Made you take work at limited capacity
- Forced you to take a lower-paying job
- Gave you a permanent disability
- Put you into early retirement
Missing work because of your car accident injury can have many negative repercussions on your life and future. You may not only lose wages from the days you missed but also important earning opportunities such as special projects, raises or promotions you likely would have earned had you been able to go to work. If your car accident causes long-term disability, you may never get the chance to return to your old position. In cases involving someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover the full value of your lost wages after an auto accident.
How to Make a Lost Wage Claim
Before you make a lost wage claim, fully document your lost income. The insurance company taking your claim will need proof of your personal injuries and how they have impacted your ability to earn. You can gather this proof in the form of medical records, x-rays, notes from physicians, paystubs, employment contracts and letters from your employer verifying your missed days at work. Collect as much evidence as you can. If you are self-employed, tax records can help prove you missed income because of your car accident.
Calculate the full value of your lost wages. Remember, this is not just the actual amount of income you lost from missed work, but also the value of lost earning opportunities in your future. Work with a car accident attorney if you need assistance assessing the worth of your lost wage claim. You may need help if you suffered a permanent disability, if you are self-employed or if you needed vocational training for a different job. You should also seek an attorney’s help if you are filing a wage claim as part of a larger lawsuit.
File your wage claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Your wage claim may be a part of a larger demand letter after a car accident. The insurance provider will generally have 30 to 45 days to respond to your initial demand letter. The insurer may respond with acceptance, after which your injury attorney and the insurance company will enter into settlement negotiations. If the insurance company denies your lost wage claim, your lawyer may need to take the at-fault party to court. Work with a lawyer to get the best possible results for your lost wage claim.