Claiming Lost Wages and Income In North Carolina
Seeking compensation for your losses following a North Carolina car accident can be overwhelming. When injuries from the accident cause you to miss work, the lengthy settlement process can swiftly become even more frustrating and potentially disastrous for your financial situation. Fortunately, North Carolina law provides victims the ability to seek compensation for financial, mental, and physical losses related or arising out of a motor vehicle accident.
Pursuing reimbursement for your lost wages and other financial losses is vital to receiving just compensation for your injuries. Generally, if you have missed time from work due to injuries suffered in an accident, you may seek reimbursement for those lost wages. The nature of your employment and the scope of your injuries has the greatest effect on what you will need to present as evidence. However, the process of asserting a strong claim for lost wages is, for the most part, straightforward and relatively simple. This section of the website is designed to assists you in understanding the mechanics and procedures for formulating and presenting a strong claim for your lost wages.
If you missed time from work due to injuries arising out of a car accident, you will likely be able to seek reimbursement for those lost wages. Lost wages are typically measured by the amount of money you would have received in wages if you had been able to work but for the accident. Essentially, this means that any successful lost wage claim depends on your inability to support and prove that you were objectively unable to work because of the accident.
When asserting a claim for your lost wages, it is essential to support all allegations, contentions, and demands for reimbursement with the appropriate documentation and evidence of your injuries. Moreover, documentation and evidence must be complete and consistent with the treatment recommended by your medical providers. Those providers’ recommendations should show your inability to work as a result of the injuries you sustained from the accident. Additionally, if your injury causes you to lose your current job, and you are then forced to accept a job that pays less, you may be entitled to claim the difference in pay between the two jobs. This depends highly upon the facts and evidence of your claim, but you may be entitled to that difference for a window of time.
This loss of earning capacity, refers to a person’s diminished ability to earn income in the future. In simple terms, loss of earning capacity is the difference between what you may have been capable of earning before your injury and what you are now capable of earning as a result of your injury. Loss of potential career growth, such as promotions, raises, and the like, should also be taken into consideration when presenting your claim. Claims for lost or diminished earning capacity, will often involve a qualified medical professional diagnosing the accident victim with a permanent or debilitating injury as a result of the accident.
It is crucial that you keep track of any and all lost income as early as possible in seeking your recovery. This includes several key types of documentation to support your claim for lost wages, including but not limited to: doctor’s note(s) writing you out of work, any notes from your employer, financial statements or other relevant reports, as well as, IRS tax returns. There are certain requirements these documents must have, in order to be authenticated, which typically include: the date for the days you are out of work; the hours you were scheduled to work on those days; the amount of money you would have made if you had worked those days; a breakdown of your pay (whether it is hourly or commission); the note be written on the formal stationary of the employer or medical provider; dates of treatment; injuries sustained; and the projected return to work date. For tax returns, you should have at least two to three years’ worth of financial documents which support how much money you may have lost.
In North Carolina, anyone who is injured in an accident due to the negligence of another is entitled to pursue losses of their income, whether they were employed or not. Everyone should have the right and choice to work, and when that choice is taken away, the responsible party should have to pay for those damages. However, the concern rests in proving what just exactly what those damages amount to. In most circumstances, establishing lost income or wages when you were not employed will come from proving that you have sustained a loss of earning capacity as a result of your accident.
While you are entitled to reimbursement for lost wages and income, the law places restrictions on your ability to recover those damages that have been lost or will be lost as a result of an accident. Keeping realistic expectations for your claim is important in reaching a satisfactory settlement. Without the proper documentation and evidence, your claim for lost wages or income could be harmed or even denied by the insurance company. Furthermore, all claims for damages including lost income must be supported by sufficient documentation, and you must show that the loss is causally related to the accident.
Unfortunately, claims for lost wages are often the most scrutinized by the insurance company when assessing your claim for compensation. Moreover, financial evidence and proof can be difficult to locate or may prove to be subjective without the assistance of financial experts, such as an economists or vocational specialists. Being aware of these difficulties and understanding that maintaining realistic and appropriate expectations for the process and what the law can provide in terms of compensation will be essential. This section of the website provides detailed information on the finer points of recovering lost wages as a result of an automobile accident.