How to Claim Lost Wages from a Car Accident

Man is sitting on the couch on the computer with his leg propped up in a cast.How to Claim Lost Wages from a Car Accident

Everything can change once you get into a car accident. Many times, car accident injuries mean not only immediate medical care and attention but also a long recovery process for even minor injuries. Making a full recovery may require missing work, which results in lost wages and puts you in a difficult financial position. Furthermore, the auto accident settlement process can be long and costly.

You shouldn’t have to suffer financially for injuries that lead to an inability to work. Lost wage compensation is available to victims of car accidents, and we can help alleviate your financial burden with pre-settlement funding.

What Are Lost Wages? 

Lost wages are the wages you would have earned from work if you weren’t too injured to perform your normal duties. For example, if injuries from a car accident cause you to miss two weeks of work without pay, lost wages would be equivalent to the money you would have earned by working for those two weeks. 

If your car accident or rear-end accident injuries are more severe and require an extended recovery, such as several months, your lost wages from a car accident are still available and calculated from the time of your injury to the time you can safely return to work.

Who Pays for Lost Wages in a Car Accident?

Insurance companies typically cover lost wages. If another driver caused the accident that resulted in your injuries, the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company is typically responsible for covering your lost income. 

It’s important to file a claim as most car insurance policies cover bodily injury. In more serious cases, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver, in which case their personal funds contribute to covering your lost wages.

How is the Amount of Lost Wages Calculated?

You can calculate lost wages by multiplying your pay rate by the amount of work you missed because of your injury.

For instance, if you earn $15 an hour and miss 40 hours of work, your lost wages would be $600. If you are a salaried worker, the calculation for lost wages considers how much of your salary you would have earned during the time at work missed. 

Proving your lost wages from a car accident typically involves:

  • A letter from your doctor describing your injuries, recovery process, and how your injuries prevented you from working.
  • A letter from your employer to verify that you missed work because of your injuries. You will also need proof of your salary or hourly wage, usually in the form of a pay stub.

What Factors are considered for Lost Wages?

Besides missed hours at work, there are several other factors considered that may affect your lost wages claim. These include:

  • Lost earning capacity
  • Job and industry-specific earnings estimates
  • Used employment benefits
  • Future lost income
  • Wage growth rates
  • Lost services

How to File a Claim

To get the financial compensation you deserve after an accident or collision, you’ll need to file a claim. We’re happy to help you with the following steps for filing a claim:

  1. Make a request to your insurance company: If you think you’re at fault for the accident and your injuries, file your claim with your insurance company. If eligible, your premium costs entitle you to these insurance benefits.
  2. Make a request to the other driver’s insurance company: If the other party is at fault, make your claim for lost wages with the other driver’s insurance company. This is why it’s 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.

When preparing to file your claim, it helps to know what terms the insurance policy covers, such as liability bodily injury coverage or personal injury protection, to help inform how you file your claim.

Some injuries are not obvious immediately after a car or motorcycle collision. It’s also not always possible to understand the severity and long-term effect of the injuries until some time after the accident. To have a better understanding of the nature and extent of the damages, some wait until the end of their medical treatment. 

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.

What is a Demand Package

A key part of making a claim, the demand package, refers to the compilation of documents substantiating your claim for lost wages. It may include items such as medical bills, documents that evidence 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 clearly outlines how injuries occurred, why the other party is at fault and the extent of your injuries. It also proposes a settlement and next steps, such as speaking to an attorney, if you don’t reach a settlement.

What if I am Unable to Return to Work or Need to Take a Lower-paying Job as a Result of My Injuries?

If you’re unable to return to work for an extended period of time, have to take a lower-paying job as a result of injuries, or can’t return to work at all, lost wages compensation may not be enough for your circumstances.

In this case, your attorney can help calculate and prove future damages so you can receive the compensation you need. This may include compensation for future lost income, medical bills, and pain and suffering damages. Your attorney can also help you claim disability benefits to help with your expenses.

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

Upon approval of your application, you may receive funds within 24 hours.

Missing work due to a car accident can put a lot of stress on you or your loved ones’ lives. 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 for a variety of car accident lawsuits, including:

If a case qualifies for pre-settlement funding, we’ll purchase a portion of the proceeds of the anticipated court judgment or settlement so you can receive cash when you need it. We only get paid if you win or reach a favorable settlement. Visit our pre-settlement FAQ to learn more, or call us today at 1-877-USCLAIMS to get started.


What if I am self-employed or work on a commission basis – can I still claim lost wages?

You can still claim lost wages if you’re self-employed, but the process for proving damages differs. You may need to present evidence of every income source and the estimated financial loss for factors such as income loss from ongoing contracts, missed business opportunities, and lost customers due to the inability to deliver services. You may need to provide documents such as:

  • Recent client invoices
  • Previous tax returns
  • Client statements
  • Medical documents

What if I am a 1099 worker/independent contractor — can I still claim lost wages?

If you’re a 1099 worker or independent contractor, you can still claim lost wages. However, you’ll generally be claimed as a self-employed individual and need to follow a different process to prove your lost wages.

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