If you’ve suffered an injury due to an accident, one of your biggest concerns likely relates to the lost time after your accident. When you suffer a loss of time working due to your injury, your earning capacity is greatly diminished.
However, this inability to work does not eliminate your mounting medical expenses and other financial burdens. If you’ve sustained injuries due to a lost time incident, you may be able to recover compensation for the period you were unable to work.
What Is a Lost Time Accident?
A loss of time injury simply refers to the amount of time you could have worked but were unable to due to your injury. Also referred to as lost wages, this is the money you could have earned from your employer from the date of your injury to the date of settlement or judgment for your injuries.
Additionally, you may have been able to work in a diminished capacity, such as shorter hours, and subsequently earned less than you would have without your loss of time injury.
To recover damages for a lost time claim, your injuries must be caused by your accident.
Evidence of Lost Time After an Accident
Evidence proving your lost time after an accident requires careful record-keeping or your past earnings and earnings after suffering your lost time injury.
Pay Stubs and Tax Returns
If, before your accident, you enjoyed regular employment, the easiest way to prove lost wages is through evidence of pay stubs and tax returns.
As a general rule, it’s best to retain your pay stubs for at least one year and until you receive your W-2 from your employer. However, don’t worry if you failed to keep all of your pay stubs. In this situation, after filing your personal injury claim, your personal injury attorney may obtain copies of your past pay stubs through the discovery process.
Letter from Employer
Additionally, you may request a letter from your employer outlining the amount of time you were unable to work after your accident. A letter from your employer would provide the following information:
- Your job title;
- The date you were hired;
- Confirmation that you were working for the employer at the time of your accident;
- The number of hours you worked before the accident;
- Your rate of pay;
- Your overtime pay rate;
- The loss of time, such as the number of days or hours of work missed due to your injury;
- If you used sick or vacation time for missed work due to your injury;
- Any expectation of unearned overtime pay due to the injury; and
- Any perks or benefits you missed due to your injury.
This type of letter serves as strong evidence to support your claim for loss of time after an accident.
Other Lost Benefits
Other lost benefits you may have missed earning due to your lost time injury include commissions, bonuses, and overtime pay. Although this type of income is generally very speculative and dependent on several factors, certain evidence may be presented to support this lost time after your accident. This type of evidence includes:
- Pay stubs reflecting earnings of overtime pay or bonuses;
- An employment contract from your employer;
- Company policy or handbook for overtime pay, bonuses, and commission earnings;
- A letter from your employer providing overtime pay, bonuses, or commissions you would have earned but for your lost time injury; and
- Proof that you would have qualified for overtime pay, bonuses, or commissions if your lost time injury had not occurred.
Your personal injury attorney works with you to obtain this type of evidence in support of your lost time claim.
What if I’m Self-Employed?
You may be concerned if you are one of the 2.2 million self-employed workers in California. How do you obtain a letter from your employer if you are your own employer? You may use similar documentation that an employer would provide. For example, the following evidence of lost time worked supports your accident claim:
- Your tax returns from prior years; and
- Billing statements before your injury.
In some situations, your personal injury attorney may advise hiring a forensic accountant to analyze your financial records. A forensic accountant works with your lawyer to ensure all the necessary data is considered in your case enabling you to recover lost earnings after filing your lost time claim.
Since 2009, The Saeedian Law Group has helped individuals seek financial recovery after an accident. We understand that each of our clients is unique and that your case requires our careful analysis. We know the financial burden you may be experiencing and work diligently to provide effective and reliable solutions to your legal matters.
You may access your attorney throughout every stage of your lost time claim process and ensure you understand your legal rights through every point in your legal process.
Contact us today for a free consultation and to learn how we can help you!