Getting hurt in an accident is especially stressful when it causes you to miss work. The good news is that working with one of the top personal injury lawyers in San Antonio or Houston can greatly increase your chances of winning compensation for your accident, including lost wages. The first step is to understand what counts as missed wages and how your lawyer can help you build a case.
Can I Get Compensation for Missed Work After an Injury?
This is a question many people have after they get hurt. If your injury was caused by the negligent actions of another individual, you stand a good chance of receiving a payout to cover your lost wages. The most common personal injury cases involve automobile crashes, premises liability, and workplace accidents. In order to be compensated, you need to show that you were not at fault for your injury and that the injury incurred specific damages.
What Counts as “Lost Wages”
Your health affects every aspect of your life. That’s why getting hurt in an accident can be so costly. Injuries often involve medical bills, emotional damages, physical suffering, and a reduced ability to work. Fortunately, a qualified lawyer can help you submit a claim that reflects all of the different kinds of damage you experienced. “Lost wages” refers specifically to the income you missed out on as a result of being injured.
Your Base Compensation
Whether you are an hourly employee or a salaried worker, you can claim the compensation you lost while you were recovering. Minor injuries might only require a few days home from work, while more extensive ones might involve longer periods away from your job. To figure out how much compensation you can claim, simply multiply your hourly wage by the number of hours you missed. If you are salaried, you should first divide your salary by 2080 work hours per year.
What If You Are Part-Time?
It doesn’t matter whether you work part-time or full-time. You still deserve compensation for the hours you missed, and the equations for calculating the amount will be the same.
A Note for Freelancers
Determining lost wages for self-employed people and freelancers can be a little more involved. However, if that applies to you, you can still submit a claim to be compensated for the income that you lost. If you had to say no to jobs that you had in your pipeline, or if you had to cancel work for which you had been hired prior to the injury, it is important to determine the extent of the financial loss. From there, you and your lawyer can work to recover it via a payout.
Tips, Bonuses, Promotions, and Perks
The law recognizes that your lost wages could include compensation that goes beyond your salary or your hourly wage. If you have records to show that you regularly earn tips, you can claim them as lost wages. Additionally, if you missed a bonus or a promotion while you were out of work, that should be noted in your claim as well.
Vacation Time and Other Benefits
Compensation does not have to take the form of cash to be included in your claim for lost wages. It can include vacation days that went unearned and other benefits that you did not receive.
Reduced Earning Capacity
Some accidents are so damaging that the victim is left with a condition that has a permanent effect on their ability to work. Lawyers might refer to the victim’s “reduced earning capacity” when addressing this situation. Demonstrating your reduced earning capacity is not always straightforward and can sometimes require the input of an economist. If you feel that you are in a position to claim reduced earning capacity, working with an attorney can help sort out the complexities.
If you have lost the support of a loved one, you might be able to receive compensation for the financial support, as well as the emotional distress. Receiving it usually involves determining how much money your loved one provided. From there, lawyers can help make projections about what future earnings would have been.
How Can Personal Injury Lawyers Help Get You Compensation?
It is always a good idea to work with an attorney when your claim involves bodily injury. These claims tend to involve higher sums of money than would be awarded for property damage alone. For that reason, insurance companies don’t cut corners when it comes to fighting against them. A qualified attorney in San Antonio or Houston can help in all the following areas:
Preparing Your Claim
When you go up against a liable party who harmed you, you need to know what to ask for in your claim. Your attorney can help you identify all of the expenses relating to your accident. Without their help, you might miss an opportunity to increase your payout.
Documenting Your Injury
Your attorney can help you assemble the evidence necessary to show how much money you deserve to receive. In the case of a car accident, that could mean obtaining surveillance camera footage of the crash, getting witness statements, or presenting physical objects that show the impact. Your lawyer will likely instruct you on how to request your medical records and other documents that demonstrate the physical injury you sustained. Physician statements can also be helpful.
Documenting Your Lost Wages
Once it is established that a negligent party caused you to become injured, the next step is to show the financial impact of the accident. Your lawyer will help you gather a number of documents pertaining to your lost wages. They might include:
- Pay stubs
- A statement from your employer
- Tax returns
- Profit and loss statements
- 1099-MISC forms
- Correspondence between yourself and clients
- Documentation of your base pay and standard overtime pay
- Evidence of the hours you typically work
Communicating With the Insurance Company
While some personal injury cases do end in a trial before a judge, many resolve themselves with a settlement offer. That is an amount that the liable party offers the victim. If you accept the offer, the matter ends without a trial. An attorney will help you negotiate for the highest possible settlement. He or she will also help you review your offer to determine whether or not it is fair.
Representing You in a Trial
If your case does go to court, you definitely need the help of a lawyer to represent you in a way that presents your case convincingly and follows courtroom etiquette. The presentation of evidence and the questioning of witnesses are examples of courtroom practices that must follow strict protocols. The best personal injury lawyers can make sure your side adheres to the rules while arguing the strongest possible case for your compensation.
Work With a Personal Injury Attorney in San Antonio or Houston
Injuries are costly, but you might be entitled to a higher payout than you think. Our attorneys understand the nuances of personal injury law, including lost wages. While there is no way to undo an injury, recovering your financial losses can go a long way towards minimizing the impact an accident has on your life. If you are looking for a personal injury attorney in San Antonio or Houston, contact Joe A. Gamez Law Firm, PLC today.