When a person is seriously injured, a slew of thoughts (and emotions) – many of them predictable – typically cross their minds. These thoughts often include how to hold the wrongful party responsible, how to find the right representation, and how long the process will take. But one of the most common thoughts is simply how a person will earn the wages they need to live on while they’re out of work, which we’ll address in detail here.
Who Will Pay My Wages While I’m Out of Work?
Oftentimes, personal injury lawsuits become needlessly complicated in the eyes of those seeking representation. Luckily, the truth is that the process is relatively straightforward. For example, you’ll need to still earn wages while you’re unable to work because of your injury, so someone will need to pay them.
But who? And how will you ensure your wages are paid so your life is able to move forward in the best possible way?
Let’s begin by exploring who is typically responsible for making sure all this happens when it comes to a personal injury lawsuit.
The most important part to understand is that you’re typically entitled to reimbursement of your lost income.
These losses are calculated by looking at the ways in which your income has been affected by your accident and injuries.
Many are pleasantly surprised by the realization that they’re entitled not only to compensation for their medical treatment and pain and suffering, but also for lost income.
So what kind of income is recoverable? And how will you prove that the income you’ve lost is from your injury? Finally, what monetary amount will you seek for the financial opportunities you’ve lost?
Here’s what’s typically recoverable in terms of lost income:
- The income you’ve lost while you were/are unable to work because of your accident and injuries
- The time you missed you from work while undergoing treatment for your injuries
Who Will Pay?
Usually, you’re entitled to reimbursement from the person who caused your accident or from their insurance company.
The amount will vary by state. In Rhode Island, the injured party receives a specific dollar amount every week, depending on the severity of their injuries. This figure can range from $300 to $500 per week for a soft tissue injury and is quite a bit higher for more severe injuries.
Sick Leave And Vacation Pay
If you already used your sick leave or vacation days for the time you missed, that doesn’t mean you didn’t still lose that income. In fact, those days are still part of your lost income claim since you should use sick leave or vacation pay when you want to – not when you have to. What this means is that using sick leave or vacation pay is the same as losing “actual pay.”
How To Document Your Lost Income
To begin, speak with your supervisor, boss, or human resources department and request a letter or email with your name, position, pay rate, number of hours typically worked, and the number of work hours/days you missed after your accident.
If you’re self-employed or are employed on a more sporadic basis, the process is a bit harder, but still doable. To do it, you will need to show the amount of work time you missed and what you might have earned if you hadn’t missed that time. For example, if you usually spend some weeks or months earning most of your income, you can take what you typically make over an entire year and divide it into a weekly or monthly average.
Other evidence you might use includes billing or invoices, a calendar of the appointments you had to cancel, or correspondences of meetings you were unable to attend.
And remember, the best evidence of your income is always your personal income tax return for the previous year.
Lost Financial Opportunities
You are entitled to reimbursement for work opportunities you may have lost due to your injuries. An insurance adjuster will add lost potential income to your claim, which will boost your settlement amount.
Now that you know all there is to know about who is responsible for paying your wages as a result of your injury, you’re ready to file your lawsuit. Remember, even if an insurance company has denied liability, that doesn’t mean you’re “out of luck.” On the contrary, you can file a lawsuit against the business for their negligence.