If you or a loved one have become injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s carelessness, and you are reading this article, you have probably been injured in an accident in Maryland, Virginia or Washington D.C. and are concerned about losses you endured to your income and general economic welfare. Losses such as the following:
- - You are hurt and need medical care
- - Your car has been damaged or totaled and you have lost your means of transportation
- - You have been forced to pay for public transportation or a rental vehicle
- - Your doctor has advised you to stay off of work
- - You are injured and unable to work or have to miss significant amounts of work to have medical treatment
- - You are concerned about losing your job or have already lost your job due to your injuries or inability to work
- - You are facing not only a past loss of income but a loss of future income or a loss of earning capacity
- - You are worried about how you are going to support yourself, and your family moving forward
- - If you do not have health insurance, you may be facing steep hospital bills
- - You are facing depression and/or a loss of self esteem due to what feels like your entire life falling apart
If any of the above sounds familiar and you are concerned about loss of income, lost wages, loss of salary, loss of your job, or your ability to work and provide for your family, then you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer such as Bob Katz. Our legal system provides recourse for victims injured due to the negligence or carelessness of others, and you owe it to yourself and your family to make sure that you are getting compensated for this loss by the individual whose carelessness caused you harm. The following is a list of frequently asked questions from injury victims who are unable to work as a result serious accidents.
What Do I Need to Prove my Loss of Income Injury Claim in Maryland or Virginia?
Generally, in order to recover for the time that you missed from work, you have to prove that you actually suffered a lost of income. Depending on whether you are an employee of a company or you are a business owner, there are certain things that you need to do to prove your loss of income to the insurance company, and if necessary to a judge or jury. Some of these are addressed generally, below. It should be noted that the elements you will need to prove your claim will vary depending on the type of job you have and only by consulting with an injury lawyer, can you get advice that is applicable to your specific situation. Nevertheless, the following may be helpful to you.
Q. Where Do I Start in Documenting My Lost Wages?
A. First of all if you are unable to work, you should let your doctor know. This way, if they agree you are unable to work, they may be able to provide you with a disability certificate. This certificate essentially documents that the doctor has determined that because of your injuries you should not be working. It should specify the length of time that the doctor is recommending that you not work. Not all doctors will write a disability certificate automatically. Some will only consider writing these certificates if the patient initiates a discussion with the doctor. Therefore, it is important to at least discuss these issues with your doctor so that you and the doctor can make appropriate medical decisions.
Q. What Can I Do From the Beginning to Make Sure that I Get Compensated For My Lost Income?
A. You should definitely keep a record of the days and or hours you missed because of your pain as well as keep track of the time you missed to attend doctor visits and therapy visits. If your company does this automatically (i.e. if you are an hourly employee), your lawyer can help you obtain this documentation. Nevertheless, you may want to keep your own records or a journal as to when you miss work.
Q. What Kind of Documentation Does One Need to Provide as an Employee?
A. Proving your loss of income as an employee of a company means having copies of recent paychecks or paycheck stubs from your job. Usually, we ask for documentation for a period of approximately three months before the accident. In addition, you may want to have to have your employer fill out a verification form provided by either your insurance company or by your attorney’s office that will help document your lost wages. The document should how many hours you normally work in a week, how many days a week and how much you were paid either hourly, weekly or biweekly. Your employer will fill out how many hours or days you missed from your job. In addition, you may have to provide a copy of your W-2’s for the previous year before the accident.
Q. What Kind of Documentation Do I Need to Prove My Loss of Income if I Have My Own Business?
Answer: If you are self-employed it becomes a lot more difficult to prove loss of income. The typical method of proving this is by combining all of your recent tax returns from the previous years before the accident so that they can be compared to the current year’s tax returns. Combined with testimony or an affidavit of the injured party as to the loss of income, one may be able to prove the loss of income in this manner. But it is important to remember that loss of income in an injury claim is usually measured by actual loss of income. So if the tax returns show no difference between prior years and the year of injury, then it is probably not going to be possible to prove any meaningful economic loss of income in this manner.
Q. What Kind of Income Loss Can I Claim?
Once again, you can only claim and recover actual income loss. This includes both past and prospective losses. If you have lost income in the past due to injury, you can claim past lost wages with proper documentation. Additionally, if you are likely to lose income in the future, or believe you will endure a loss of earning capacity, you can claim this as well. However, the elements of proof for loss of earning capacity are complicated and usually require sophisticated economic analysis by an economist or other qualified expert. These claims are usually subject to dispute by adverse parties and are frequently the subject of litigation. Therefore, if you believe you are likely to have future losses of income, you are going to want to discuss your options with an experienced injury lawyer to get advice applicable to your specific situation.
In general, because these issues of proof in a loss of income claim can be complicated and because they are subject to dispute by opposing parties, it is always wise to seek the advice of an attorney to help you through this process.
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