Experiencing a car accident can be a distressing event, often leading to physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial difficulties. One of the most significant financial burdens can be the loss of income due to the inability to work.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Georgia, you may be eligible to recover lost wages. This guide will delve into the process of claiming lost wages after a car accident in Georgia.
What Does Lost Wages Include?
Lost wages encompass the income you’ve been unable to earn due to your inability to work following an accident. This includes all wages, bonuses, and other benefits that you may receive from your employer.
For hourly or salaried employees, lost wages can be calculated based on your actual earnings before the accident, using company payroll records.
Damages in a Georgia Car Accident Case
In Georgia, if you’ve suffered injuries due to another’s negligence, you may be entitled to damages for lost income and future earning capacity. Georgia law allows you to recover both general damages for the pain and suffering from your physical injuries, as well as special damages, which include expenses and lost earnings.
Recovering Lost Wages After a Car Accident
To claim lost wages, you must demonstrate that any time away from work was medically necessary and directly related to your injuries. Here are some steps to follow.
Begin by obtaining medical documentation. If your doctor has issued work restrictions, ensure they provide you with the necessary paperwork for your employer. This documentation should clearly state that you are unable to work due to your injuries. It’s crucial to adhere to your doctor’s advice and refrain from returning to work until you are medically cleared.
Pay Stubs and Tax Records
Maintain a record of any recent check stubs or other evidence of your pay after the accident. These documents will serve as proof of your regular income before the accident. If you’re a salaried employee, your lost wages can be calculated based on your actual earnings before the accident, using company payroll records.
Record of Days You Missed
Keep a detailed log of the days you were absent from work and the reasons for your absence. This log should include the dates of your absence, the number of hours you typically work on those days, and a brief explanation of why you were unable to work (e.g., medical appointments, physical therapy, etc.).
Lost Wage Verification Form
Your employer may need to complete a form verifying the time you missed from work. This form should include information about your regular pay rate, the number of hours you typically work, and the total amount of time you missed due to your injuries.
Evidence of Lost Opportunities
If you missed out on opportunities for overtime, promotions, or bonuses due to your injuries, gather evidence of these lost opportunities. This could include emails, letters, or other communications indicating that these opportunities were available.
Substantiating Your Claim
The most compelling evidence used to prove lost income includes payroll statements, W-2s, paycheck stubs, and a letter on company letterhead from a supervisor or HR department stating your position and monthly income. If your income varies and you had a low-income year, it may be beneficial to calculate your average income based on several years of tax returns.
Filing a Claim
You can pursue a claim with the other driver’s insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in civil court. The deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit in Georgia is two years from the car accident.
A Douglasville car accident lawyer will negotiate on your behalf for the best possible settlement. While most claims are settled with the insurance company, your attorney will be prepared to represent you in court if necessary.
Estimating Future Lost Earnings
If you have a lasting injury or a permanent disability caused by the accident, you are also allowed to seek damages for the future income you would have earned if not for the accident. The process of estimating the value of lost future earnings is complex, and you’ll want help from an experienced Douglasville car accident lawyer.
Yes, you can collect compensation for used PTO – if it was used because of an injury from a car accident. Under Georgia law, you may be able to claim lost pay even if your employer continued to pay you while you missed time from work.
Call Our Douglasville Car Accident Lawyers Today
Recovering lost wages after a car accident in Georgia can be a complex process. It’s crucial to gather all necessary documentation and follow the correct procedures to ensure a successful claim. Our Douglasville accident attorneys at Hartley Rowe & Fowler can help you.