When someone is hurt due to the negligence of another, they shouldn’t have to bear the burden of losing money because they can’t work. Thankfully, recovering lost wages is possible through legal action in the form of a personal injury lawsuit. Whether you’ve been hurt in a car accident or someone hit you while you were on your bike, you can obtain the compensation you deserve.
In order to make that happen, however, you’re going to need the help of an experienced attorney. The Eberst Law Firm not only has the experience it will take for you to get what you have coming, our attorneys also have the resources and the skills that are necessary. We’ll work to obtain a full and fair settlement on your behalf and be ready to go to court if that settlement isn’t forthcoming.
Florida Lost Wages Laws
Florida law allows people who have been hurt to take action to recover lost wages. The injury victim can obtain up to 60% of not only the loss of their gross income but also the loss of future earning capacity. You’ll learn more about the differences between the two in the next section.
If that injury occurred due to another’s negligence, the victim may be able to obtain the other 40% from the negligent party’s insurance company.
What’s the Difference Between Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity?
It’s really important that you know that lost wages and loss of earning capacity are totally different from each other.
Let’s say, for instance, that you were so badly hurt in a bicycle accident that you can’t work for an extended period of time. You use up your sick days and vacation time, and you start losing your paycheck. Those are all examples of lost wages.
What if you can’t go back to your old job? This is where loss of earning capacity will come into play. Your attorney will determine what kind of impact the injury has had on your ability to earn money. They’ll then determine the potential financial losses you’ll suffer as a result. These losses haven’t happened yet – they have to be projected as time goes by.
So, in a nutshell, lost wages are what you’ve currently lost, while loss of earning capacity is what you’ll likely lose in the future.
Can I Recover Compensation Even if I Took Sick Time or PTO?
Without a doubt. You have every right to pursue compensation for PTO or sick time. Your attorney will more than likely demand that from the insurance company of the negligent party. The amount of that compensation will depend on how your salary breaks down daily. If you make $200 a day, that’s how much your attorney will demand for every day of PTO, sick time, or vacation days you’ve had to use while recovering from your injury.
Are Lost Wages Available if I’m Self-Employed?
Yes, they are. You shouldn’t have to be denied lost wages or loss of earning capacity just because you don’t have a traditional W-2 job. Recovering lost wages in this type of situation can be a little more complex. A self-employed person’s income tends to go up and down. You’ll have to prove exactly how much money you’re losing.
You’ll have to provide proof showing how much income you’ve lost due to the accident. This means gathering a lot of documents, such as bank statements, tax forms, proof of projects or contracts you’ve missed, and others. An attorney with The Eberst Law Firm can help you gather what you need.
How is Loss of Earning Capacity Calculated?
As you might expect, many factors go into determining the compensation for loss of earning capacity. This could involve your attorney calling in expert witnesses. They’ll look at your employment records and work history to estimate what your future earnings would have been if you hadn’t been hurt. They’ll also look at your skills, education, history of raises and promotions, and more.
What if I Lose My Job After an Accident?
Unfortunately, employers may let go of employees who can no longer work due to a long-term injury. If this happened to you, it will be even more important that you have an attorney working on your behalf.
Your legal representative will press the insurance company to pay for your lost wages and your lost earning capacity. In order to convince them to do that, they’ll have to provide strong evidence that you weren’t to blame for the accident that resulted in your injury.
If you do eventually recover fully, it will also be important to do your best to find another job as soon as you’re able. If the court finds that you could have gone back to work but didn’t, that could affect the amount of compensation you receive.
Evidence Required for Recovering Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity
The importance of strong evidence can’t be overstated. Whether you’ve been hurt in a slip and fall or you were involved in a truck accident, Knowing that you’re not to blame isn’t enough. You’ll also need to show with “reasonable certainty” that you’ve suffered a certain amount of lost wages.
Your attorney can investigate your accident to show it wasn’t your fault. They can also help you gather the documentation needed to show your lost wages/loss of earning capacity. Again, these documents include:
- W2s or 1099s
- Doctor’s statements
- Proof of wages and salary from your employer
Other Recoverable Damages After a Car Accident
Not only can you recover lost wages, you can also pursue compensation for other damages as well. These include the medical bills you’ve accumulated, damage to your property, emotional and mental trauma, and many others.