How to Claim Lost Wages from a Car Accident

What Are Lost Wages?

Man is sitting on the couch on the computer with his leg propped up in a cast.

The instant you are injured in a car crash and are unable to work, everything changes. Many times, car accident injuries mean not only immediate medical care and attention but also a long recovery process, especially when the injuries are severe. More often than not, making a full recovery requires missing work which can result in lost wages.

So, the question is: Can you get paid for missing work after a car accident? Luckily, the answer is generally yes. Just because you are suffering physically, does not mean you should have to suffer financially for injuries that you did not cause. Lost wage compensation is available to victims of car accidents. However, that requires filing a personal injury claim.

Simply put, lost wages are the wages you would have earned by going to work had you not been injured. For example, if injuries from a car accident make it so you miss two weeks of work without pay, lost wages would be the money you would have earned by working for those two weeks. If your injuries are more severe and require a longer recovery (such as several months), your lost wages from a car accident are still available and would be calculated from the time of your injury to the time you can return to work.

Who Pays for Lost Wages in a Car Accident?


Lost wages are typically covered by an insurance company. If another driver caused the accident that resulted in your injuries, that driver’s auto insurance company will often be responsible for covering your lost income. It’s important to file a claim as most car insurance policies cover bodily injury. In a more serious case, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver, in which case the driver’s personal funds would contribute to covering your lost wages.

Calculating and Proving Lost Wages from Car Accidents


In normal cases, lost wages are calculated by simply multiplying your pay rate by the amount of work you missed because of your injury. If you get paid $15 an hour and missed 40 hours of work, your lost wages would be $600. If you are a salaried worker, lost wages will simply be calculated by looking at how much of your salary you would have earned during the time at work missed. It is important to keep track of the number of hours or time at work that was missed in order to get compensated for your loss properly.

Proving your lost wages from a car accident is generally simple. You will typically need:

  • A letter from your doctor—this letter describes your injuries and your treatment/recovery process. This letter details how your injuries prevented you from working.
  • A letter from your employer—this letter is to verify that you did indeed miss work because of your injuries. You will also need proof of your salary or hourly wage (usually in the form of a pay stub).

If you are self-employed or work on commission, calculating and proving lost wages from a car accident can be trickier. However, it can be done, so don’t give up on getting the financial recovery you deserve. A good car accident lawyer can help make sure you get the money you deserve.

How to File a Claim


In order to get the money you deserve after an accident you will need to file a claim. While this might initially be seen as a hassle, it is critical to ensuring you get compensated.  Consider the following steps:

  1. Make a request to your insurance company – You would file your claim with your insurance company if you believe you were at fault.  While you might not initially feel comfortable with this; remember you do pay your insurance premiums and you are entitled to receive a benefit in your time of need.
  2. Make a request to the other driver’s insurance company – In the event the other party is at fault you would make your claim for lost wages with the other driver’s insurance company which is why it is important to exchange insurance information at the time of an accident.
  3. File a Lawsuit – In the event of a more serious case you may have to file a lawsuit against the other party.

Some injuries are not manifested immediately after a car accident. Also, at times, it is not possible to understand the severity and long-term effect of the injuries until some time after the accident. Therefore, some suggest waiting until near the end of the medical treatment prior to filing a claim, in order to have a better understanding of the nature and extent of the damages . You must be mindful, however, that there may be a deadline for you to file your claim. A car accident or personal injury lawyer can help you determine when is the best time to file your claim.

Keep in mind that when you are preparing to file your claim, it helps to know what is covered under the terms of the insurance policy.  Take the time to understand if there is liability bodily injury coverage, uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage as depending on which coverage is available can dictate how you file your claim.

The Demand Package 


The demand package is a critical component in making your claim for lost wages.  You can think of the demand package as the compilation of documents that will substantiate your claim for lost wages.  This means it can include such items as medical bills, documents that illustrate your injuries, and documentation of your time off of work that has resulted in wage loss.

Along with the volumes of information that will support your claim, the demand package also includes a demand letter. The demand letter is clear communication that outlines how the victim was injured, the reasons the other party was at fault, the extent of your injuries, proposes a settlement, and shares that if the settlement is not reached that the next step would be to speak with an attorney for possibly filing a lawsuit.

How Long Does It Take To Get Lost Wages From A Car Accident?


Get Financial Help While You Wait 

Missing work due to a car accident can be difficult. If you’re having trouble meeting your expenses while waiting for a legal settlement for lost wages from a car accident, we can help. At USClaims, we offer pre-settlement funding, if a case is qualified for pre-settlement funding then we would purchase a portion of the proceeds of the anticipated court judgment or settlement for some cash now. USClaims only gets paid if a case is won or has reached a settlement! Apply now or call us today at 1-877-USCLAIMS to learn more.

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