A car accident can result in injuries that leave you unable to work for weeks, months, or longer.
If you are disabled because of your injuries, you may experience a diminished or lost earning capacity.
Going without pay for any amount of time can be stressful and cause a significant financial burden
If a car accident prevents you from returning to work for any significant amount of time, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, lost earning capacity, and other accident-related losses.
Your attorney can help you determine the value of your lost wages claim and ensure you get the funds you need to move forward.
Do I Have a Lost Wages Claim After a Car Accident?
A claim for lost wages from a car accident compensates you for the income you would have received had your injuries not prevented you from working.
This type of claim applies to injuries that prevent you from doing your job and thus render you unable to earn your wages.
There are multiple situations where you may receive compensation for lost earnings, including:
- Lost wages for the period of time you were temporarily unable to work due to injury;
- Lost or diminished earning capacity caused by a long-term disability from your injury.
- The injury prevents you from doing a job that allows you to earn the same wage you did before the car accident; and
- Lost opportunities to advance in your career or attend a job interview due to your injury.
The amount of lost wage damages you are eligible to receive is largely based on your salary or hourly wage prior to the accident.
If you can no longer work in the same job or at all, the amount you can receive for lost earring potential is also unique to each person.
Your compensation will take several factors into account, including your current job, where you are in your career, and opportunity for advancement.
Who Pays for Lost Wages in a Car Accident?
In New Mexico, the person responsible for causing the car accident is also responsible for compensating the injured victim.
Typically, the responsible party’s insurer will provide this compensation, meaning you will first need to file an insurance claim to pursue damages.
Depending on their insurance policy limits, there may or may not be sufficient coverage to compensate you for both your personal injury claim and your lost wages claim.
If the coverage is insufficient, you may need to consider filing a lawsuit to recover the compensation you deserve.
If you are in a situation where your action contributed to the accident or injury, it is important to know that you can still seek recovery.
New Mexico follows the legal doctrine of pure comparative negligence, which means that the amount you would be entitled to in a claim is reduced by the percentage of your fault in causing your injuries.
For example, if you were awarded $100,000 but found to be 15% at fault for the accident, you would receive $85,000. In New Mexico, you can be 99% at fault and still file a claim.
How Long Does It Take to Get Lost Wages from a Car Accident?
Reaching a car accident settlement can take anywhere from a few months to years, depending on whether you accept an offer from the insurance company or pursue maximum compensation through a lawsuit.
Some things that could lengthen the process of coming to a fair settlement include:
- The number of parties involved in the accident,
- Whether there is a dispute over the cause of the accident and liability,
- Scope and limitations of the defendant’s insurance policy,
- Severity and prognosis of the injuries, and
- Availability of evidence.
Do not let the length of time that it could take to receive compensation deter you from seeking what you need.
You deserve to have the expenses associated with your accident paid for by the responsible party so you can move forward.
Insurance companies are known for offering quick settlements that do not consider the full value of your claim but get them off the hook for less money.
Once you accept a settlement offer, you cannot go back and seek additional compensation. Therefore, it is important that a lost wages claim be filed along with your initial demand for recovery.
Your New Mexico personal injury attorney can ensure this happens properly and help you determine the actual value of your claim.
How to Prove Loss of Wages Due to a Car Accident
To succeed in your lost wages claim, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible to demonstrate that the injury from the car accident has prevented you from working.
You must also prove how much money you would have made had the car accident not occurred.
Whether you decide to negotiate an insurance settlement or pursue litigation, you must gather the required evidence.
Proof of Injury
The nature and severity of your injuries will have to be verified by a medical professional.
You will also need to show that those injuries have prevented you from returning to work or have minimized your capacity to work.
The medical professional will need to provide a detailed prognosis that explains when and if you can return to work and to what extent.
Make sure to keep a detailed record of all diagnostics, treatments, and consultations related to your injuries.
Proof of Wages
Unless the car injury had something to do with your employment, your employer is not liable for paying wages that you were unable to earn.
You will need them to provide a letter verifying that you missed work due to your injuries from the car accident.
Proof of income will also be required, which can be provided by your employer in many ways, including pay stubs, an employment contract, time cards, or other payroll records.
The inability to earn your normal wages can be stressful and scary. At Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro, P.C., our team has extensive car accident claim experience and understands the value of lost wages.
We are comfortable negotiating to help you receive the maximum settlement amount for your lost wages claim or argue your case in the courtroom.
Contact us to schedule a free case consultation and learn more about how we can help.