After a car accident in San Luis Obispo, you may be entitled to compensation if you weren’t at fault. Your insurance provider, the other driver’s insurance provider and even the other driver themselves may be on the hook for paying for your injuries. Compensation will cover a variety of different costs and expenses you incurred during and after the accident.
The most common expenses people think of when they think of compensation after an accident include medical expenses, car damage, and even pain and suffering. However, many people don’t think about the fact that they may not be able to work for a while, especially if they suffer serious injuries after the accident.
The good news is that you can get compensated for lost wages after a car wreck. The bad news is that it can be difficult to figure out how much you’re owed. At Ernst Law Group, our San Luis Obispo car accident lawyers know how to help you calculate what you’re owed for lost wages. Call us today at (805) 541-0300 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation.
What You Need to Prove Lost Wages
Before you can start calculating what you’re owed for lost wages, you have to be able to show what you’ve lost. This is usually pretty easy if you’re only injured and out of work for a short period of time. However, if you suffer a long-term injury, calculating your lost wages can become more difficult.
No matter how serious your injuries, if you’ve had to miss work because of them, you need to collect a few different documents to prove you deserve compensation. First, you will need a doctor’s note or disability slip to show that you’re unable to work and how long you have to be out of commission.
Next, gather your most recent pay stubs or paycheck to prove how much you usually make at your job. You may also need your tax forms to prove your income. You will also need a letter from your employer to confirm your employment.
What Happens If I’m Self-Employed?
Self-employment can make recovering lost wages more difficult, but it’s not impossible. You will need to provide different documentation that proves what you would’ve made during the period of time that you were too injured to work.
Tax documents that show your income in previous years can be a big help. If those don’t prove your current level of income, you can use invoices and billing statements that show how much you made in the few months before your accident. In cases where your income is seasonal, such as if you run a Christmas mall kiosk, you can use documents that show how much you’ve made during preceding years.
Proving self-employed income can be pretty difficult. Our San Luis Obispo car accident lawyers can help you gather the documents you need to prove your lost income.
Can I Prove Lost Tips?
If you work in the service industry or have another job where tips make up a significant portion of your wages, you are able to claim those tips as lost wages. To do so, you have to show tax documents that show how much you typically make in tips.
If you mainly get tips through credit cards, this should be an easy task. However, if you usually get cash tips and you don’t always report those cash tips to the IRS, you can only claim your lost tips in the amount you claimed on your previous tax returns.
How Lost Wages Are Calculated in California
If you are regularly employed and don’t rely on tips for a large portion of your wages, lost income calculations depend on whether you’re a salaried or hourly employee. If you are salaried, you can take your salary and divide it by 2,080 (how many work hours are in a standard year).
With that number, you can calculate the wages you lost while you were injured. For instance, if you missed one week of work, that’s 40 hours of missed work. So, you can take the amount you make an hour, then multiply it by 40 to calculate your lost income.
Calculating lost income for hourly employees is much easier. You simply take your hourly wage and multiply it by however many hours you were out of work.
What About Sick or Personal Days?
After your accident, you may take sick or vacation days to make sure you still get a paycheck while you can’t work. After all, recovering lost income can take a while. The good news is, you can recover whatever personal or sick days you took as lost income.
Recovering the value of these days is similar to recovering other lost income. You will need to prove that you were entitled to these days and that the time lost was due to the car accident.
Recovering Lost Overtime, Bonuses and/or Commissions
Unlike some other states, California allows you to recover more than just net income. You can also claim additional payments you may have received. However, proving this “speculative” income may be more difficult.
In order to prove lost bonuses, overtime, commissions, etc., you may need to show:
- A written employment contract
- Past pay stubs that show a pattern of bonuses or overtime pay
- Proof that your employer allows for overtime or commission pay
- A letter from your employer showing an expected amount of additional income
- Proof that you would’ve met the requirements to earn this extra income
Talk to a San Luis Obispo Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured in a car wreck and had to miss work because of it, you may be entitled to compensation. At Ernst Law Group, our San Luis Obispo car accident attorneys can help you recover your lost wages when you can’t work.
Call our experienced lawyers today at (805) 541-0300 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation.