A key element to your insurance claim is compensation for any lost income due to the injuries you sustained in a motor vehicle accident. This is generally known as lost wages or “special damages.” Depending on the specific facts and circumstances of your particular claim, lost wages can become quite difficult to recoup. Therefore, listed below are five key tips or strategies that can be helpful when trying to recoup your lost wages.
Typically, you must have written authorization for each time you were absence from work. In other words, if you miss days from work due to the injuries you sustained in your accident, then you will need a “doctor’s note” for each day that you miss. The best practice is to request for your doctor to provide his recommendation in writing, either in your record or in a note on his letterhead.
Whenever you miss work due to injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, you will also need some form of employment verification in order to prove your lost wages. Employment verification simply consists of your wages and the number of hours missed. The best practice is to have your employer fill out this information and sign it. Please feel free to view our example of an Employment Verification Form.
Whenever you are injured in a car accident and miss a significant amount of time from work, it may be helpful to keep a journal where you track the days and hours missed from work. Keeping a written record will not only be helpful in tracking your lost wages, but it also can help document the severity of your injuries and any mental anguish that you may have suffered.
Mitigating your damages is very important in order to ensure that you recoup as much of your lost wages as possible. Essentially what this means is that you return to work as soon as physically possible or as soon as the doctor says that you are able.
More importantly, mitigating your damages plays a huge role when you have lost your employment due to injuries sustained in motor vehicle accident. Typically, this issue arises when your doctor has released you for work, but you have lost your employment due to the time you already missed. In order to continue to claim lost wages, you will need to provide evidence that supports that you have been attempting to mitigate your damages (by looking for other employment). Providing copies of correspondence between you and potential employers best supports this effort. For more information, read our article on Mitigating your Damages.
Recouping all of your lost wages can be a battle. Adjusters continuously use the same “tired ol’ tricks” to attempt to reduce the value of lost wages, whether it is reducing your lost wages for taxes or excluding hours for which you were compensated due to earned sick leave or vacation time, It is important that you understand that you should be reimbursed for all lost wages that are adequately supported.