When you are in a motor vehicle accident, the first steps you should take include immediately addressing any injuries, talking with the police, collecting as much evidence (photos, names of witnesses) as possible, and seeing your doctor. Once you’ve taken these measures, it’s time to start assessing your damages and losses from the car accident.
Now, there are a variety of reasons an accident can leave you unable to work. Back pain, broken bones, and even concussions are only a couple of examples of injuries that keep people from being able to earn income.
RELATED: Do I Have a Concussion From My Car Accident?
However, if the car accident wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t have to pay for your own medical bills, lose out on the income you would have earned, or otherwise spend your life paying for someone else’s mistake. That’s where damages come into play. Damages typically break down into three categories:
- Economic Damages: This includes any financial impact the car accident injuries had on your life. This can include medical bills, medical equipment, the costs of ongoing care (like physical therapy), and your lost wages.
- Noneconomic Damages. Where economic damages are tied to monetary loss, noneconomic damages are for more intangible matters. These damages may be awarded for physical, mental, or emotional pain and suffering. Physical impairment and disfigurement, injury to reputation, and loss of enjoyment of life are other examples of noneconomic damages.
- Punitive Damages. In this case, we are talking about damages that awarded as a way to punish the defendant for reckless or dangerous behavior, and not to compensate you for losses.
If you want and need to claim lost wages, they are considered economic damages. However, you may be eligible to claim other costs as well, especially if you missed work because of an injury, or if the person who hurt you was especially reckless.
Proving Lost Wages and How Damages Are Calculated After a Crash
Naturally, which damages and losses are applicable and at what value depends on each specific situation.
To get a good understanding of what your lost wages might be worth, you’ll want to obtain a doctor’s note or disability slip. This documentation records your physical injuries and limitations and provides a recommended timeframe for how long the injuries will keep you away from work.
Along with the note from your doctor and any medical records, you need your most recent pay stubs and a letter from your employer confirming your pay, the number of hours you work per pay period, and the days you were absent. If you own a small business or are self-employed, you may need invoices and tax returns to show how much income the accident will cost you.
Once you have those details in order, you can begin to calculate the value of your lost wages, medical bills, and other costs. While this process might seem straightforward, the truth of the matter is that the most qualified person to help you calculate and claim lost wages from a car accident is a personal injury attorney. If you live in the greater Katy area, you’ll want to work with a local personal injury lawyer who knows our community and is willing to fight for the people who live here.