Can I Be Reimbursed for Lost Wages After a Car Accident?

A car accident in St. Louis, MO, can leave you with an uncertain financial future and a painful recovery. One of the biggest concerns you may have is how you will support yourself and your family while you are unable to work. You are entitled to seek reimbursement for your lost wages through a personal injury claim.

Unfortunately, recovering the full compensation you are owed after a car crash is not always easy. It’s crucial to seek experienced legal representation from a St. Louis car accident lawyer to fight for the full value of your lost wages. Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers has represented car accident victims for over 20 years and is committed to fighting for you.

How Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You After a Car Accident in St. Louis, MO?

Car accidents can take a heavy financial toll on injury victims. They might result in extensive medical treatment, requiring you to miss work. How are you supposed to pay your bills if you’re losing wages? A personal injury suit can help you pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers has helped car accident victims in St. Louis, Missouri, for more than two decades. Our devotion to our clients has paid off. We consistently recover some of the largest car accident settlements in Missouri, including six, seven, and even eight-figure awards. Let us put our experience to work for you

When you hire Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers, you can expect us to:

  • Offer competent legal advice at every stage of your personal injury claim
  • Investigate your accident to identify all liable parties
  • Calculate the full extent of your damages, including medical and lost wages
  • Work with economic and medical experts to strengthen your case, when necessary
  • Handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance company
  • Take your case to trial if the insurance company won’t make a fair settlement offer

Our St. Louis injury lawyers know what you’re going through. We’ve helped injured clients just like you. Let us assist you in your case. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation.

Can You Recover Lost Wages in a Car Accident Lawsuit?

A personal injury lawsuit is designed to put you in your position before a crash by holding the responsible party financially accountable for your damages. Lost earnings are a common form of damages in car accident claims involving injuries.

Lost wages are considered a “special” damage. These are compensatory damages that are easy to calculate and also include medical expenses. 

The lost wages you can recover may include:

  • Base pay or regular earnings for time you took off work while recovering
  • Overtime pay you would have been required to work or typically work
  • Vacation days or sick days you missed earning while of work
  • Commissions or bonuses you would have been paid
  • Pay and salary increases you were on track to receive
  • Employment benefits like a transportation allowance
  • Retirement fund contributions 

Your base pay is the easiest type of lost wage to prove. It can be difficult to prove lost overtime pay, bonuses, and pay increases, but there are ways to document these losses and seek compensation.

Can You Recover Compensation for Self-Employment Income?

You are still entitled to recover compensation for lost income if you are self-employed. However, self-employed accident victims face an additional hurdle in proving their lost earnings.

As a general rule, your lost income will be based on your typical workload and how long you were off work. This can be documented in many ways, including 1099 forms, tax returns, correspondence with clients, documents from an accountant, and profit and loss statements.

Can You Recover Compensation for Paid Time Off and Sick Days?

In terms of a personal injury claim, PTO and sick days are treated the same as unpaid time off work. You are still entitled to be reimbursed for paid time off.

Many car accident victims must take their unused PTO while recovering from their injuries. These benefits are designed to be used at your discretion and using them after an accident means they are no longer available.

You can recover compensation for paid sick days and other paid time off based on your normal daily wages.

How Do You Prove Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Claim?

When another party causes your accident, you can seek the full value of your lost earnings during the time you took off. Your missed work must be medically necessary and directly linked to your crash.

The insurance company may try to claim that your injuries did not require any or much time off work. You will need to substantiate that the time off work was medically necessary and show how much time you missed.

The first step in proving lost wages is a doctor’s statement. This statement should detail your ability to work, how much time you should take off, and what, if any, restrictions are needed when you return to work. Sometimes, your doctor may clear you to return to work with restrictions, but your employee could not accommodate them. In this case, you can seek lost wages still because you were not able to return to your job.

You must prove the amount of time you took off work with any or all of the following:

  • A letter from your employer
  • Timesheets
  • Pay stubs
  • W-2s
  • Tax returns 

Your employer’s written statement about your pay and benefits is an important element for proving your lost earnings. This statement can include the time you missed and verify any lost raises, promotions, bonuses, or overtime.

How Compensation for Disability & Reduced Earning Capacity Works

Recovering compensation for lost wages becomes much more challenging if your accident left you with long-term or permanent disability or impairment. If you are never able to return to your job after your crash, you are entitled to compensation for your future lost wages or diminished earning capacity. This is income you have not actually lost yet but will lose in the future because of the accident.

A claim for lost or reduced earning capacity can be valuable. After all, it may consider compensation you would earn over decades of work if you suffer total disability. This means it must be carefully calculated with as much evidence as possible. The insurance company will likely fight the claim.

At Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers, we work with experts such as forensic accountants and medical professionals to demonstrate the extent of your injuries, your lost earning capacity, and what you would have earned in the future.

The value of your diminished earning capacity can be based on many factors like:

  • Your earnings history
  • Your capacity to learn a new trade
  • Your training and education
  • The remaining years you would have kept working 

Accident claims involving disability and diminished earning capacity can be complicated and require extensive documentation and legal expertise. Do not allow an insurance company to make a low-ball offer that fails to properly compensate you for your future losses. Once a settlement is final, you can never recover additional damages related to your accident.

How Are Lost Wages Calculated in a Car Accident Case in Missouri?

As a general rule, a simple formula is used to calculate lost wages. If you earn hourly wages, your lost earnings will be calculated as the number of work hours you missed multiplied by your hourly wage.

If you are paid on a salary, your salary is divided by 2,080 or the number of work hours per year. This “hourly wage” is then multiplied by your missed hours of work.

This simple formula can be used to calculate base lost wages. However, you are also entitled to recover compensation for other pay, such as overtime, bonuses, and promotions. This will require more complex calculations and proof to substantiate the claim.

Lost or reduced earning capacity is even more challenging to calculate. This often requires working with medical and financial experts to determine how much longer you likely would have worked, what you would have reasonably earned, and the value of other employment benefits like a pension.

Contact a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation

Do not let an insurance company undervalue your claim. Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers have over two decades of legal experience fighting for car accident victims. Our founding attorney, E. Ryan Bradley, also brings crucial insight into insurance company tactics thanks to his early career defending insurance carriers.

Contact our law office today for a free case review with a St. Louis car accident attorney who will fight to secure the full value of your injury claim.