The injuries you suffered in your car accident left you unable to work for weeks. On top of that, you continue to miss work to attend physical therapy and follow-up doctor appointments. As you pursue compensation from the driver who caused the accident, keep in mind that you are also entitled to damages to cover the income you lost due to the accident. These damages are in addition to compensation for medical bills and for pain and suffering.
Who Is Eligible?
You are entitled to damages for lost income, whether you are a full-time regular employee or not. Any source of income is compensable, including the following:
- Full-time regular work
- Full-time contract work
- Part-time work
- Occasional or seasonal work
- Work paid at an hourly rate
Some of these employment statuses will be more difficult to document than others, but you are entitled to compensation regardless.
Documenting Lost Income
In order to prove that you would have been working and earning money if you were not injured, you will have to provide documentation of your employment. For regular employees, a letter from a supervisor on company stationery indicating your rate of pay, number of hours you normally work, and the number of hours or days you have missed since your accident will serve as adequate documentation. If you are irregularly employed or self-employed you may provide billing invoices demonstrating a drop in business, letters from customers or clients indicating your lack of availability, proof of canceled appointments with clients, or any other evidence of missed work.
Whether you are a regular employee or a part-time worker, you will also need to provide evidence of the amount of income you normally earn so the amount you deserve to be compensated for can be established. Personal income tax returns are the best way to demonstrate earnings, but you only need to reveal your gross income to an insurance adjuster, not your deductions or exemptions. Other evidence of earnings can be billing statements or invoices from the months prior to your accident.
What About Sick Leave and Vacation Time?
Some full-time employees are offered a certain number of paid sick days each year, so when they take these days to recover from an injury or to go to a doctor’s appointment, they aren’t technically losing any income—they will be paid as if they were at work. When an injured employee uses up all of his sick leave, he may also use paid vacation days to cover his time away from work. However, even though these employment benefits mean the employee has not been docked pay, he has used up these paid days because of the car accident and if he gets sick later in the year, he will then have to take unpaid days. Likewise, using vacation days to recover from an accident means the employee will not have them to actually take a vacation. Because of this, car accident victims can recover lost income for sick days and vacation time in a settlement.
While it’s not easy to prove, you are also entitled to reimbursement for professional opportunities you missed out on due to your accident. This might include opportunities for a promotion or raise, an interview for a new job, missed sales appointments, a cancelled contract for independent work, an inability to take seasonal work, or any other chance lost because of your injuries or medical treatment.
Have You Been Injured In A Kansas City Area Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.