As a car accident lawyer at Gold, Khourey and Turak I represent people injured in automobile accidents every day. When a person injured in a car accident and their family first meet with me, they are typically feeling overwhelmed by their claim, the insurance company, and financial concerns. Often, their car has been totaled, they have missed work because of their car accident injuries, and they are anxious about their lost wages and medical bills. If you or a loved one have missed work due to a car accident, read below about what is a lost wage claim. Please feel free to give our office a call at (304) 845-9750 to discuss further. Below are some of the questions I typically answer.
Can I recover my lost wages after a car accident?
Yes. Lost wages are recoverable in a personal injury claim, such as a car accident or truck accident. These include lost wages resulting from your injuries suffered in a car accident. It makes no difference whether you are paid a salary or hourly, if a doctor keeps you off work while you recover for your injuries, the at fault driver’s insurance company is required to reimburse your lost wages during your recovery.
Can I recover for lost vacation and sick time I used while out of work?
Yes. It is not unusual for an injured person to use their sick time and vacation time when they miss work due to a car accident injury. Whether required by your employer or done voluntarily, the value of sick and vacation time used is recoverable if it results from a car accident. Being out of work creates significant financial stress and people injured in car accidents are oftentimes forced to use their sick and vacation time in order to receive some wages while out of work. Generally, the value of a sick or vacation day is equal to a day’s wages. As long as the lost time is caused by the accident, you are entitled to recover the value of used sick and vacation days as part of your claim.
My spouse missed work to care for me, is that recoverable?
Yes. Whenever a family member misses work to care for you or takes you to a doctor’s appointment, you can include their lost wages in your claim. It will be important to carefully document these losses to show that they are directly related to your car accident. Moreover, it will be necessary to show that you required the family member’s care or services.
What if my spouse cared for me but does not have a job?
Yes. If your spouse or family member does not work but cared for you during your recovery, you can make a claim for the value of their services. For example, your daughter, who is unemployed, moves in with you to care for you during your recovery. As part of your claim, you would be entitled to claim her time spent caring for you at a reasonable hourly rate. Again, it is very important that the time and type of services provided be well documented, that the care was necessary and related to your car accident injuries and that the hourly rate is consistent with what is charged in the area for these services.
Can I still claim lost wages if I received Worker’s Compensation or disability benefits during my recovery?
Yes. Under the law, you are entitled to only make one recovery for your car accident lost wages. It would be an unfair windfall to permit you to recover both your lost wages and worker’s compensation or disability benefits. This would amount to a double recovery. Nevertheless, you are entitled to recover your lost wages as part of your car accident claim with the understanding that you will need to pay back worker’s compensation or the disability insurance company. Because worker’s compensation and disability insurance typically pay less than your full wages, the amount you are required to pay back is likely to be less than what you received from the other driver’s insurance company.
Can I recover car accident lost wages if my employer lets me return to work but at a reduced wage?
Yes. Many people injured in car accidents are cleared by their doctor to return to work in a light duty capacity while recovering from their injuries. Consequently, they go back to work at a reduced wage or miss out on overtime or performance bonuses. In this instance, you would be able to claim the difference between the pre-accident wage and your post-accident wage as well as any missed overtime and bonuses. It will be necessary to show that you were eligible for overtime and that you would have worked it or would have earned the performance bonus. A history of your past wages, overtime, and performance bonuses will help in proving that you are entitled to recover these damages.
Can I recover wages if I’m unable to return to my old job and I get a new job paying more?
Yes and no. You can claim car accident lost wages for any missed work while you were recovering from your injuries, but that claim would end once you started your new job making more. In certain circumstances you might be able to recover for your time off while looking for a new job if you can prove that you lost your job due to the car accident. You would need to show that you were actively looking for a new job and your claim would be limited to a reasonable time period. You are not permitted to sit back and take a mini vacation at the expense of the insurance company.
Can I make a claim for lost wages if my employer continues to pay me while I’m out?
No. If your employer continues to pay you while you are recovering from your injuries, then you have not experienced car accident lost wages. As a result, you would not have a lost wage claim.
GKT Will Obtain the Compensation You Deserve
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, the car accident attorneys at GKT can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Don’t trust the insurance company to tell you what you are entitled to receive, you are not their priority. They are profit driven and strive to pay as little as possible for your car accident claim. That includes not telling you that you may be entitled to recover lost wages and other damages. The experienced car accident lawyers at GKT know what you are entitled to receive under the law and can make them pay. Contact our office to schedule your free consultation. We can be reached 24 hours a day by phone or text at (304) 845-9750, or online through our Live Chat or online form. We are licensed to practice in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.