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Claiming Lost Wages as an Employee

Claiming Lost Wages as an Employee

If you have lost time from work due to accident-related injuries, you may be able to seek reimbursement for reasonable lost wages. Generally, lost wages are measured by the amount of wages you would have received if you had not missed work due to the accident. This means that lost wages are dependent on your inability to work as a result of the accident and not necessarily on the time you missed from work as an indirect consequence of the accident.

When asserting a claim for lost wages, it is essential to support all allegations, contentions, and demands for reimbursement for lost wages with appropriate documentation and evidence. Furthermore, the documentation and evidence will need to be complete and consistent with the treatment that has been rendered by your medical providers showing that you are unable to work.

This article will assist you in making your claim for lost wages when you are an employee of a company or a person; in other words, when you are not self-employed or the owner of the company. To learn more information on how to claim lost wages when self-employed, or as an entrepreneur or business owner, please read our article on the subject.

What Do I Need to Prove in Order to Claim Lost Wages?

An at-fault driver is responsible, under the law, for compensating you for those damages proximately caused by their negligence, which includes certain lost wages. Lost wages include all the time away from work for both medical treatment and time missed due to physical incapacity to perform your normal work tasks. In order to establish lost wages, you will have the burden of proving all the necessary elements of the damages stemming from your injury. This claim will have to be presented to the at-fault party’s insurance claims adjuster. Failure to adequately prove your claim will prevent you from recovering lost wages.

Before you can seek any form of recovery, you must first be able to prove that the at-fault party was negligent, and therefore responsible for your damages. For more information on the concept of negligence, please read Negligence. Proof of damages for lost wages will require documentation and evidence of the following:

  • You must be able to prove that the injuries sustained in the accident prevented you from working.
  • You must be able to prove the value of the lost time.

Proving That Your Injuries Prevented You from Working

Although you may feel like you cannot work after an accident, without the proper documentation and supporting evidence from your employer, a claims adjuster will almost always deny or drastically reduce your lost wages claim. Therefore, you should seek written authorization for each day you miss work from your medical providers to show that the absence was medically necessary and the lost wages are related to the injuries caused by your accident. The written documentation, or doctor’s note, should come from the medical physician treating you for injuries sustained in the accident, and it should describe your injuries, your need to miss work and how much work the doctor believes should be missed.

Please be sure that your doctor’s notes accurately document your inability to work or perform your usual duties. Additionally, the medical provider who actually treated you should provide your doctor’s note to you. For instance, an emergency room doctor, a primary care physician or a chiropractor who treated you for your injuries can write you a note for every day that you are to miss work. Be sure to review the details and language of the doctor’s note. Here is a sample doctor’s note that we feel would support a lost wages claim effectively.

The treating physician’s note(s) should include the date for every day you are out of work. The doctor’s notes should be written on the medical provider’s formal stationary or medical pad, if possible. Generally, the medical provider’s notes should include information such as the dates you are to be out of work, dates of treatment, injuries sustained, and a projected date for return to work.

Important: Just because you and the doctor discuss taking a bit of time off of work does not necessarily mean that the doctor has taken note of this conversation in your medical records. Always ask the doctor to make sure that they include their recommendation in writing in both your medical records and in an out-of-work note that is given directly to you.

Determining Lost Wages Based on How You Are Paid

How you are paid by your employer, meaning by the hour, salary or on a commission basis, will have to be taken into consideration when you determine lost wages. Depending on your particular employment situation, you may also be able to claim vacation pay and sick pay taken as a result of your accident as well. Claiming lost wages or loss of income as an employee is significantly less complicated if you are employed as hourly or salaried, as opposed to being employed on a commission scale. Commission-based pay is often considered speculative by insurance adjusters and based on numerous uncontrollable variables. It is important to understand that your current pay, regardless of how or what you were paid at the time of your accident, should be used as the basis for which you determine your lost wages. Listed below are the different ways to determine and calculate your lost wages.

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