If you have lost income and/or the ability to work due to a car accident, you have the right to be compensated for lost wages when the accident was not your fault. Working through the facts of the crash and its aftermath can seem complicated, especially when you are injured. Getting legal representation in Houston, TX is the best way to make sure you go about things the right way.
What to Do When You Cannot Work After a Car Accident
Whether it was a little fender bender or a devastating wreck, a car accident can have a damaging effect on your health, your property, and your income. What should you do when you cannot work in the aftermath of a crash? First, it is important to know that you have the right to recover lost wages in Houston, TX. Second, you should understand that getting the maximum amount of compensation depends on your ability to show the following:
- You missed out on income
- Your lost income was the result of a car crash injury
- You were less than 51% at fault for the crash
An auto accident attorney can help you determine what you are owed and collect the necessary proof. He or she can also get into the details of the accident to show what happened and why you were not at fault. Here is what you need to know about lost wages:
Determining and Collecting Lost Wages
What Are Lost Wages?
The term “lost wages” refers to money that you would have made if it weren’t for the accident. While your first thought might be about the salary you could not collect while taking time off to recover from your injury, the term actually includes many other forms of compensation. For example, if you are a freelancer or someone who is self-employed, you have the right to recover money that you would have earned from gigs. Additionally, you are entitled to lost commissions, bonuses, and benefits.
Different Types of Employment
It does not matter whether you are full-time or part-time, salaried or hourly. Lost income is lost income, and you have the right to collect compensation for it. The way your compensation is calculated changes depending on how you are paid. If you are hourly, you should receive your hourly rate multiplied by the number of hours you could not work. If you are salaried, your salary will be converted into an hourly wage and then multiplied by the hours lost.
For freelancers, being fully compensated for your losses means recovering income from self-employment, whether it is from a side job or your full-time work. An attorney can help you collect evidence of jobs that you had in your calendar and ones that you would have booked for the future if not for your accident. Your compensation will be determined according to written proof of upcoming work and documents that show your past earnings. These can include:
- Tax returns
- Work-related emails
- Past W2s
- Past 1099-MISC forms
- Profit and loss statements
Commissions, Bonuses, and Promotions
If you lost more than your base pay as the result of an accident, you will need to demonstrate the other sources of income you missed out on. This can include commissions and bonuses, especially for people in sales. It can also include increased income that you would have received from a promotion you were being considered for. Providing evidence for this type of lost wages requires some documentation, but a letter from your employer or correspondence between yourself and your clients is often sufficient.
Vacation Time, Sick Days, and Other Benefits
When you work with a personal injury lawyer, he or she can help you demonstrate other forms of compensation you missed out on. This includes vacation days that you would have earned, sick days that you would have accrued, insurance benefits, and even 401K contributions. Working with a lawyer will help you organize your documentation and report everything you lost, even things that are not immediately obvious.
Reduced Earning Capacity
In serious crashes, the injuries that result can impact a person’s ability to work for long periods of time. They might even be debilitating for life. In that situation, we can help you calculate and recover the monetary losses associated with your reduced earning capacity.
Proving the Accident Was Not Your Fault
Car accidents happen for many reasons, many of which have nothing to do with you or your driving. Sometimes, the source of the crash is actually a fault in a vehicle that was involved. Other times, irresponsible or inattentive driving factors in. In either case, it is very important to get the help of an experienced attorney to show that what happened resulted in your injury through no fault of your own.
The safety of any care is dependent on it having mechanical features that function properly. If you have an issue with your brakes, your steering, or any other part of your vehicle, you could experience a crash on the road with or without another vehicle. Likewise, if another vehicle has a mechanical issue, that car could pose a danger to you. Our lawyers can help determine what mechanical failure caused the crash and whether a manufacturer was responsible.
Unfortunately, errors in another driver’s judgment can have devastating consequences for your life. In many situations, unsafe driving is the result of behaviors such as drinking or texting. Even being sleepy while operating a car can lead to crashes and debilitating injuries. Other times, a miscalculation or a monetary lapse of attention can result in an unsafe turn, a missed stop sign, or another dangerous mistake.
Determining Fault and Liability
As with many aspects of a car accident, determining who is responsible for paying the damages is not always straightforward. That’s where an auto accident attorney can help. In Houston, TX, if you are determined to be partially responsible for a crash, you can still collect a portion of your lost wages as long as you are not more than 50% at fault.
If the other driver was at fault, he or she may or may not be liable. The liable party is the one that actually needs to pay for the consequences. Sometimes, the liable party is the one who was behind the wheel at the time of the accident. Other times, it is his or her employer or the actual owner of the vehicle.
Showing That the Wages You Lost Were the Result of the Accident
Unfortunately, insurance companies often fight back on lost wages because they can be considerable. They might argue that your injuries do not require recovery time. Once we have demonstrated that you were injured in a crash and that you were not more than 50% at fault, our attorneys can help you show that the work hours you lost were a direct result of the injury.
Get In Touch With an Auto Accident Attorney in Houston, TX
If you have been injured in a crash, you deserve the help of a professional legal expert. Our attorneys are there to guide you through the complexities of the accident and the legal system. When you have lost work, commissions, and other benefits, we are there to help you get what you deserve. Contact Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, and we will be there for you with all of our expertise.