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Lost Wages After Car Accident

Posted in Car accident on July 15, 2019

If you work with an attorney during a car accident claim in West Virginia, he or she will most likely bring up the topic of lost wages. Lost wages are a category of economic damages many crash victims have the right to seek during an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Ignoring the topic of lost wages could lead to missed opportunities for financial recovery after a car accident.

Defining Lost Wages in an Accident Claim

When you file an injury claim with an automobile insurance company, your claim will list the damages, or losses, for which you are seeking reimbursement. The insurance company will review your claim and either accept or deny the amount you are requesting. You can improve your chances of securing a successful settlement with a detailed breakdown of all the damages you are seeking from the insurance company – including your lost wages.

Lost wages can refer to any money you missed and may continue to miss in the future because of your car accident. If you had to request unpaid time off work to visit a doctor, go through medical treatments, set up disability accommodations or take your vehicle to the shop, you could seek reimbursement for your missed wages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You could also seek restitution for any missed wage-earning opportunities because of your injuries, such as a promotion, raise, overtime, vacation hours, commission, bonus or other perks.

Lost Wages vs. Lost Capacity to Earn

A subcategory under lost wages is lost capacity to earn. This type of damage refers to the income you reasonably could have earned in the future were it not for your accident-related injuries. Lost earning capacity is most commonly claimed after accidents that cause catastrophic and permanently disabling injuries, such as spinal cord injuries or brain damage. The impairment of earning power may apply if a car accident forces you into premature retirement or gives you no choice but to take a lower-paying job because of a disability.

Estimating the future loss of earnings typically takes reviewing your past work experience, education and skills. Then, you or your attorney will meet with a medical expert to determine your point of maximum medical improvement. The medical examiner will estimate how long it will take for you to fully recover, if ever. Then, your West Virginia car accident attorney can combine your projected future earnings with the extent of your injuries to estimate your total future wage losses.

Lost capacity to earn is more difficult to prove than lost wages since they are projected losses rather than documented existing losses. Hiring a personal injury lawyer in West Virginia to calculate and prove your lost earning capacity can improve your odds of securing this type of compensation in West Virginia. Your lawyer can take your personal work history and medical records into account, as well as factors such as current wage rates, during calculations.

How To Recover Lost Wages

If you wish to seek financial recovery for lost wages after a car accident, first list it as one of your damages on an insurance claim. File your claim as soon as possible after the car accident. The insurance company may get back to you with a settlement offer within 30 days. If a settlement does not adequately cover your damages, you have two years from the date your car crash occurred to file a personal injury claim.

Lost wages fall under a personal injury in West Virginia; thus, your claim will follow all the same rules as a typical injury lawsuit. A civil claim with help from an attorney could enable you to recover the costs of your lost wages, lost capacity to earn, disability expenses, past and foreseeable future medical expenses, noneconomic damages, and other tangible or intangible losses.