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The Second-Worst Part of a Car Accident: Losing Income

Having an auto accident is unexpected and impacts everyone the minute the accident happens. No one can prepare for the unplanned loss of a vehicle, potentially taking time out of work for medical appointments and any other ongoing injuries you’ve suffered from being involved in an accident.

Then there are the extra costs you’ve had to pay out for medical bills, using public transport, organizing a replacement car and even loss of wages from missing work.

No matter your financial situation, if you’ve been injured in a car accident, you deserve to be reimbursed for the income you lost while recovering from your injury. An experienced accident attorney can help you work out just how much you’ve lost and calculate a sum that rightly compensates for your losses.

Contact Thompson Law Firm today, or read on to learn more about losing income after an auto accident in Arizona.

Why Lost Income and Lost Compensation Are Different

The Arizona courts regularly rule that personal injury victims are entitled to reimbursement for their income they lost while recovering from their injuries after an accident. Lost income includes wages the injured person would earn if they hadn’t been injured.

The lost compensation is an additional amount that’s awarded and includes sick and vacation days, pay bonuses, and other perks the person is eligible for.

Other Types of Employment Compensation You Can Claim For

As the accident wasn’t your fault but you’ve missed out financially, the courts will go in your favor for further employment compensation which will include;

Sick Days

 As an example, if you’d accrued 14 sick days and used 10 while recovering from your injuries, you have a right to be reimbursed for the value of those 10 sick days. The value of each sick day is one day’s wages.

Vacation Days

If you’ve had to use your vacation days while recovering from your injuries, your settlement will compensate you. Like sick days, each one of those days represents a day’s wages.

Bonus Days

Bonus days are any other days you earned or could have earned from work such as national holidays, birthdays, mental health days, performance days, etc. Like sick and vacation days, each bonus day represents a day’s wages.

Bonuses

Bonuses typically earned based on an employee’s performance or hitting a benchmark are also eligible to be reclaimed if injuries prevented you from getting a bonus you were in line for

Other Perks and Benefits

Similar to bonuses, perks are usually anything else your employer would reward you in a non-monetary way such as a company “work” vacation, use of a company car, free golf outings, and any other perk you would have had if not for your injury.

Insurance companies tend to lump lost wages and lost compensation together, referring to the total as lost income which is fine as long as you know the difference. Knowing all the types of lost compensation to include can increase a final settlement amount.

Supplying Evidence of Lost Income Following an Auto Accident

The best proof of injuries you’ve suffered from having an accident is having a note from your doctor which should include a detailed write-up of your injuries, your diagnosis, and a prognosis for recovery. It will also need to outline your prescribed treatment and how long you should be out of work. 

You can also ask your doctor for a note that outlines when you can return to work and what activities you are limited to at work. It can even include a “progressive prognosis,” which looks at when you can return to your full job duties. The more details about your injuries, treatment, and an approximate recovery time, the better chance you’ll get reimbursed.

Get a Letter from Your Employer

To get more value out of your claim, you need to show legitimate proof of the income and any other compensation you’ve lost during treatment and recovery. Ask your employer for a written letter which should confirm the following:

  • The days off you’ve had
  • Your hourly pay or salary at the time of the injury
  • The number of hours you normally work each week
  • Any overtime you worked in the weeks or months before the injury
  • Any projects you were working on that would have resulted in extra compensation
  • A promotion you were being considered for and is no longer available
  • Any lost prizes for work performance, including vacations, tickets to shows, etc.
  • Sick, bonus, and vacation days used up while recovering
  • Any other perks or benefits you lost

What To Do If You’re Self-employed And Need To Prove Lost Income

Self-employed people have the same right to recover lost income like anyone else, it’s just gathering proof of that lost income can be a bit more challenging. Adjusters often consider lost income claims from the self-employed as a suspect. If your lost income is substantial, you may need to hire an accountant. Typically, the person handling your books can create a profit and loss statement. It should prove your income before the accident and show a decline in income after the accident.

Proof of income can take many forms including:

  • Bank statements showing deposits
  • Profit and loss statements before and after the accident
  • Your last year’s tax return
  • Signed contracts close to the time of the accident
  • Invoices and receipts

If your business is rather complicated or vast, it’s worth hiring a forensic accountant who can look at the previous income and predict future income. They’ll also prepare a detailed forecast of future income factoring in the growth rate of your business, new customers, as well as compare the incomes of similar businesses in your area. If your business isn’t that complicated, you won’t need a forensic accountant just a current financial statement and your tax returns for the past several years. 

If you were working with potential customers and lost them when you were injured, you can include copies of your correspondence to prove how close you were to bring them on. If you can get them to write a letter confirming they would have become a customer had you not been injured, that’s even better.

Don’t be tempted to exaggerate your financial losses as every document submitted for evidence in your claim will be very closely scrutinized. Take your documentation to your usual accountant and ask them to prepare a financial report supporting your calculations. The adjuster can’t refuse to reimburse your lost income simply because you’re self-employed, but they’re likely to dispute the amount requested at first. 

Ultimately, it comes down to how well you can prove the legitimacy of that lost income as a result of the accident you’ve endured. Our lawyers at the Thompson Law Firm are here to help see your lost wages claim through—and ensure you get paid.

Our experienced attorneys offer comprehensive guidance on all personal injury matters by phone or video conference call.

Our team of lawyers work closely with their injury clients across Arizona, communicating clearly whilst offering reassurance and empathy through an often very difficult and emotional process. During the free consultation, our lawyers will discuss your concerns before creating a comprehensive plan for you, while also assessing the strength of your claim.

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