Can I Be Reimbursed For Lost Wages After a Car Accident?
Car accident victims often miss some work while they recover from injuries. If another person caused the car crash, you might be entitled to compensation for lost wages. However, recovering compensation for wages after a car accident can be challenging.
If a car wreck caused you to miss time from work, contact the car accident attorneys of Hasner Law, PC for a free consultation. Learn about your legal rights from a trusted advocate for injury victims.
Why Do You Need to Hire an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer?
Even though Georgia personal injury laws allow victims to seek compensation for loss of income, that does not mean the driver’s insurance company is willing to pay your claim. There are several steps that you must take to receive reimbursement for your lost wages after a car accident.
Some of the hurdles that you must clear to receive full compensation for loss of income include:
- Proving that the other driver was entirely responsible for the cause of the car crash.
- Having evidence of medical treatment that proves that the car accident caused your injuries.
- Proving that you could not work because of your injuries.
- Providing evidence that proves you lost income from being out of work.
Gathering evidence to prove the other driver caused the accident can be challenging without the help of our personal injury attorneys. Many people do not have the resources or time to investigate a car crash. Also, gathering evidence related to your injuries and lost income could be difficult if you sustained traumatic injuries.
Our Atlanta car accident lawyers take care of these steps for you. We handle everything from the investigation, preserving evidence, filing insurance claims, documenting damages, and negotiating a settlement. If necessary, we prepare and file a personal injury lawsuit to protect your legal right to reimbursement for lost income.
Am I Required to File a Lawsuit to Collect Lost Wages After an Atlanta Car Accident?
Most car accident claims settle without filing a lawsuit. Our lawyers file a claim with the other driver’s insurance seeking compensation for your damages, including lost wages. In many cases, damages in a car accident claim include:
- Lost Wages and Benefits
- Cost of Medical Care and Personal Care
- Property Damage
- Pain and Suffering
- Permanent Disabilities and Impairments
Loss of income is classified as “economic” damages. Economic damages are reimbursed in full under most circumstances. However, there are at least two factors that could result in a lower settlement for loss of income.
Insufficient Insurance Coverage
The State of Georgia has minimum insurance requirements for drivers. Minimum car insurance requirements are:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury
- $50,000 maximum insurance per accident
- $25,000 property damage liability
If a driver has minimum insurance coverage, your car accident claim could exceed the coverage. Therefore, there may not be enough insurance coverage to pay your claim in full. Our Atlanta car accident lawyers investigate other insurance coverage and avenues for recovering compensation.
Georgia’s Comparative Fault Laws
Under the comparative fault laws in Georgia, a driver who shares responsibility for the cause of a car wreck is not entitled to full compensation for damages. In other words, if you are partially at fault for the car accident, you will not receive as much money for your claim.
Your percentage of fault reduces your compensation for lost wages and other damages. If you are 40 percent at fault, the money you receive for your claim decreases by 40 percent. If you are 50 percent or more at fault, you cannot receive any money for your claim.
Georgia Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits
If the other driver’s insurance provider refuses to pay a fair amount for your loss of income and other wages, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, accident victims have two years to file a lawsuit. If they do not file a lawsuit before the deadline, they lose their right to seek a judgment through the courts.
However, some factors can change the deadline to file a car accident lawsuit. To avoid missing a deadline, talk to our Atlanta car accident attorney as soon as possible after a car accident.
Common Questions About Lost Wages After a Car Accident in Georgia
Below are some of the common FAQs about lost wages that our lawyers discuss during a free case review.
What Happens if I am Self-Employed?
You are still entitled to compensation for loss of income if you are self-employed. If you lose income because you cannot work, you are entitled to reimbursement for that income.
However, placing a value on the loss of income when you are self-employed can be difficult. Independent contractors, 1099 employees, or gig workers’ incomes generally fluctuate.
Therefore, you may need proof of income for several quarters or projects to calculate an average weekly rate for your income. You may also need proof of the jobs and projects you lost because you were injured.
Examples of documents that can help prove self-employed income include:
- Tax Forms, including tax returns and 1099s
- Copies of recent Profit and Loss Statements
- Copies of communications regarding loss jobs and opportunities
- Proof of canceled appointments and estimates
- Information about projects or contracts you had to cancel
If you need help determining lost income from self-employment sources, our Atlanta car accident attorneys have extensive experience handling this issue.
Can I Recover Compensation for Paid Time Off?
Many people use their PTO (Paid Time Off) benefits to help them cope with the financial strain after a car accident. PTO benefits might include vacation time, comp time, and sick leave.
These benefits are yours to use at your discretion. However, when you use these days because you were injured through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to reimbursement for those days. Typically, the reimbursement rate would equal your regular pay rate for the time used.
Can I Receive Compensation for Lost Benefits?
Some employees accrue benefits based on the number of hours, days, or weeks worked with the company. These benefits have value. If you are unable to work because of a car accident injury, you might be entitled to reimbursement for those lost benefits.
There may be other benefits that might be included in a loss of income claim. Bonuses, commissions, overtime pay, and other benefits might be compensable if you can prove that you would have received that compensation had it not been for the car crash.
Future Loss of Income and Diminished Earning Capacity
Future Loss of Income & Benefits
Some accident victims are unable to return to work because they sustain a permanent impairment or disability. Examples of injuries or conditions that could lead to a permanent impairment include, but are not limited to:
If you cannot work after your car wreck, you might also be entitled to future lost wages and benefits. Our Atlanta car accident lawyers work with economists and medical experts to accurately calculate the losses you can expect to lose if you cannot return to work. Future loss of income could total millions of dollars, depending on your age, education, career, skills, experience, and economic factors.
A Decrease in Earning Potential
Some accident victims may be able to return to work, but they cannot earn the same income because of a disability or impairment. In those cases, they may be entitled to compensation for decreases in earning potential.
Our auto accident attorneys work with various experts to determine the correct value of your claim. Calculating the difference between what you could have earned and what you may earn given your ability to work can be challenging. Without an experienced car accident attorney to oversee the process, you could lose thousands of dollars in compensation for future loss of income.
Keeping Detailed Records Improves Your Chance of Success for a Lost Wages Claim
The insurance company is not going to pay a lost earnings claim without verifiable proof of the income you lost because of a car accident. Therefore, keeping detailed records can increase the chance that you receive full compensation for all past and future loss of income and benefits.
Documents that can help you prove your loss of income claim include:
- Medical Records
- Medical Bills
- Income Tax Returns
- 1099s, W2s, and Other Tax Forms
- Pay Stubs
- Time Sheets or Timecards
- Letter from Employer
- Employment Contract
- Overview of Employment Benefits
Our legal team works with you to gather this evidence and even more evidence to support your claim for a loss of income after a car accident.
Contact Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers for More Information
If you lost income because of a car crash, we can help. Our team has considerable experience handling car accident cases involving lost wages and benefits. Before you accept a settlement from the insurance company, check with our attorneys to make sure to receive what you deserve.
Contact us now for a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys.