Car accidents often result in severe injuries, such as broken bones, burns, brain damage, and whiplash. Depending on the nature and extent of this harm, you may need to take days, weeks, or even months off of work to recover. As a result, you can lose significant amounts of wages.
When you need to pay for medical care, property repairs, and other expenses after your collision, lost wages place additional financial stress on your household. However, you may have the right to recover these losses through a car accident lawsuit or insurance claim.
Illinois is a fault car accident state, meaning that negligent drivers who cause collisions must pay for their victims’ damages. These damages may include medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and pain and suffering. You can also recover compensation for any lost wages that resulted from your accident.
In most cases, lost wages occur because you sustain a physical injury that prevents you from performing your job for a period of time. You can also recover compensation for lost wages if you developed a debilitating mental health condition due to the accident, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. You may also be entitled to the wages you lost while you were receiving medical care for your injury.
For example, say that you work in a warehouse, and you break your leg in a car accident. Since your job requires you to move around, you are unable to work during this time. You also need to receive initial medical care after your accident and attend follow-up appointments as your leg heals, which requires you to take even more time off of work. In this situation, you would be entitled to recover the full amount of wages that you would have received if you had not been injured.
To secure compensation for lost wages in an insurance claim or lawsuit, you will need to provide proof of income and proof that you were not working during your recovery period. Documents such as paystubs, checks, and correspondence with your employer can help you prove your right to lost wages. Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer can help you recover the necessary evidence should you file a lawsuit or claim.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, your injuries may be so severe that they prevent you from returning to your previous position. For example, say that you work as an electrician, but your arm is amputated in a car accident. Because you are unable to return to your previous position, you need to accept a lower-paying job as a cashier in a grocery store. In this situation, you would be entitled to recover compensation for your lost earning capacity, or the difference between your pre-accident and post-accident wages.
In some cases, you may be unable to work at all due to a permanent or long-lasting disability. You may sustain a traumatic brain injury, are paralyzed due to spinal cord damage, or become blinded by the accident, making it difficult to find another job. In this situation, you have the right to hold the at-fault party accountable for the wages you would have made if the accident did not happen.
Proving lost earning capacity is more complex than proving lost wages, but a Chicago personal injury lawyer can provide you with the resources you need to establish your right to compensation. Your attorney can connect you with expert witnesses, such as economists and life care planners, who can examine your disabilities and compare your earnings between two jobs. As soon as possible following your collision, speak to a lawyer to discuss your options for compensation.