One of the most common types of losses inflicted by an accident is lost wages. Most seriously injured victims cannot return to work immediately after their accidents. Instead, they must take time off, either temporarily or long term.
If the victim was not to blame for the accident, he or she should not have to pay for lost wages out of pocket. The at-fault party should be responsible instead. Before a court in Texas will award you for lost wages, however, you will have to prove this type of loss.
What Are Lost Wages?
Lost wages refer to the earnings missed when an employee has to stay home due to an accident and injury. When a physical injury interferes with an employee being able to fulfill the critical tasks of his or her job, the employee will have to stay home until he or she recovers enough to return.
In some cases, an employee can return to work, but in a limited capacity and for a lower wage. In other cases, an employee will have to go without any wages until he or she can go back to work. In severe and catastrophic injury cases, a victim may never be able to return to work. A lost wage award during a personal injury case in Texas can cover several types of income and benefits.
- Hourly wages
- Tips and perks
- Sick leave
- Vacation days
Texas law allows victims to recover financial compensation for these wage-related losses after accidents that force them to take time off of work. Even if you had sick days to use, you are eligible for their reimbursement if you did not cause your injury. It will be up to you as the plaintiff to prove your lost wages if you wish to obtain this type of reimbursement, however.
Evidence of Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Case
One of the elements you must prove for a successful personal injury case in Texas is damages suffered. The defendant’s wrongful act must have given you real, specific and compensable losses. These losses may include lost income. If you wish to seek financial compensation for lost wages, you or your personal injury attorney will need to provide evidence.
- Information about your job, such as typical hours worked
- Pay stubs from before the accident
- Tax return statements and W2s
- Wage verification letter from your employer
- Your business’ banking records, if self-employed
- Medical records
- Letter from your doctor confirming you cannot work
- Expert testimony
These are common examples of evidence and documentation used to prove a plaintiff’s eligibility for a lost wage award. In general, if awarded an amount for lost wages, it will match the exact or estimated wages and benefits the employee would have earned had the accident not occurred.
Can You Seek Compensation for Future Lost Wages?
It is possible to file a claim for future lost wages (called loss potential to earn) in Texas if you will have your injury for the foreseeable future. If you have a catastrophic injury, such as a broken bone, traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, that will take you out of work for months, years or life, you and your attorney can seek compensation for the projected amount of time you will be unable to earn a living wage.
An award for the lost potential to earn could cover projected future wages, as well as likely promotions and pay raise opportunities. Proving lost future earnings often requires testimony from your doctor and employer stating that your injuries will make you unable to return to work for a certain amount of time. You may also need to hire a forensic accountant to prove how you arrived at the amount you are claiming in lost future earnings. Work with an attorney for the best odds of obtaining a fair amount for your lost wages in Texas.