When the negligence of another party causes you harm, you have the right to sue for compensation to recover your losses. Most people hear the term “losses” and immediately think of medical bills. And it’s true that you can get compensation for medical bills. However, these aren’t the only types of damages you can receive money for. You can also get compensation for lost wages if you are able to prove that the loss resulted from your injury.
Are You Eligible for Compensation for Lost Wages?
To be eligible to seek compensation for lost wages, you need to prove two things. First, you must show that your injury prevents you from working. Second, you need to prove that another party was responsible for the injury.
That latter part is especially important. Before you need to worry about proving lost wages, you need to show that you were less than 50% responsible for the injury you suffered. Ohio uses a form of contributory negligence to determine recovery in personal injury claims. If you are more than 50% responsible for your injuries, you aren’t eligible to get compensation.
Documenting Lost Wages
Before a court will award you money for lost wages, you need to prove the value of your claim. Typically, your employment records will provide the evidence you need.
Employment Records/Pay Stubs/Bonuses/Overtime
Your employer is required to keep precise records of how much, when, and why they pay you. Additionally, even if your employer pays you electronically, they provide you with a pay stub that details this information as well.
Those records and pay stubs are the best way to show how much money you made on average, including bonuses and overtime. But what can you do if you don’t have your pay stubs? The good news is that your employer is required to provide that information on request and will maintain it for years.
The Value of Medical Records and Expert Testimony
Proving how much money you are losing by being unable to work is only half the equation. You also need to prove that your injury prevented you from working. This is where medical records and expert medical testimony come in.
Your doctor can best explain the severity of your injuries and the limitations it places on your ability to work. These records and testimony don’t only prove why you missed work in the past. They can also provide a good estimate of when you are able to safely return to full-time work.
Employment records don’t always tell the whole story. Sometimes, the court will need a larger picture of your finances to determine how much compensation you deserve. When that happens, it may consider several types of records, including the following:
Income Tax Returns/Financial Records
For many people, wages are only one part of their income. The best way to show the court all your income sources quickly is to provide income tax returns. If you haven’t kept copies of these reports, you can request them from the IRS or your state tax agency.
The court may also request copies of other financial records like IRA contributions or investments. Your personal injury lawyer will help you collect records that support your claim.
Collateral Sources and Offset
Collateral sources are another type of record that the court may want to see. A collateral source is money the defendant pays that applies to your claim. If the court agrees that the defendant has paid some of the claim already, it will offset some of your award.
However, you can partially negate that offset if you need to spend money to get a collateral source.
The Role of a Personal Injury Attorney in Supporting Your Claim
If this seems like a lot of documentation to you, you’re not alone. Most people don’t keep records as well as they should. And just because you start keeping meticulous records after an injury doesn’t resolve the problem that you didn’t keep good records before.
Your personal injury attorney has experience gathering evidence, even when it might be hard to find. They will focus on getting the right evidence quickly and providing it to whatever parties need it.
Can I Get Compensation for Lost Earning Capacity?
Yes, but this takes more effort. To determine how much money you might have made if you didn’t miss out on theoretical promotions or raises usually requires the testimony of someone with a finance background. Your lawyer will do their best for you, though, no matter how much work is required.
What Types of Cases Are Personal Injury Cases?
Any situation where you are injured due to the negligence of another party is a personal injury case. Some of the more common examples of a personal injury case are:
- Car accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Workplace injuries
- Product liability injuries
Typically, the details of how you were injured matter less than the fact that you were hurt and lost wages as a result.
Can I Sue for Lost Wages if I Am Self-Employed?
Yes, you can. But if you are self-employed, you can’t rely on your employer to keep good records (because you are your employer). If you were sloppy with record keeping, it may take longer for your lawyer to get all the evidence they need to prove your case.
Contact The Moore Law Firm for Personal Injury Lawsuits
For many people, the worst part about suffering an injury due to someone else’s negligence is the fear of financial ruin from being unable to work. At The Moore Law Firm, we can help you recover compensation for those lost wages. Contact us today to learn about what information you need to collect that money.