How To Recover Compensation for Lost Income Due to a Car Accident

Your settlement compensation after a car accident in Georgia may include recovering past and future lost income and earnings. This guide explains how lost pay can be included in your personal injury damage claim.

Key Points

  • In Georgia, your settlement or injury award includes lost wages, if you missed time or will miss time from work as a result of a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
  • If you cannot work after a car accident, your past and future lost income can be calculated into your settlement compensation.
  • Lost income is calculated by verifying your income and the amount of time missed from work while you recover.
  • In the most serious cases, experienced personal injury lawyers often employ economists and use physical therapists and doctors as experts to estimate your future lost income.
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When a Georgia or Atlanta-area car accident has left you unable to work, you may be able to be reimbursed for your lost income by the at-fault driver or company.

Your case settlement or jury verdict award can include temporary past lost pay, or if your injury is permanent, future lost income.

Here is some information that you may find helpful if your employment and income have been affected by injuries from a car accident anywhere in the State of Georgia.

How to Recover Past Pay Lost Due to a Car Accident

If you have missed time from work that is related to your car accident, you will need proof from your employer, or detailed self-employment records, to prove your lost pay. Many times this can be obtained from your job using a lost income verification statement. This is a usually in the form of a document or letter, signed by your employer or supervisor, showing your rate of pay and the hours and days missed from work.

You will usually want to support your past lost income statement with medical records and photos of your injuries an damage to your car, truck or motorcycle. Insurance adjusters, and if your case goes to Court, Jurors, are less likely to award you lost pay unless you can prove you suffered an injury serious enough to justify time off work. This is why documentation of your injuries is very important.

How to Recover Future Expected Lost Income Due to a Car Accident

If you have suffered a permanent injury or an injury that will require extensive future medical care, such as the need for a surgery and long recovery, Georgia law allows you to demand and recover lost future income.

Recovering lost future income means being able to prove that you expect to be unable to work in the future due to your injuries or need for injury treatment. What kind of work you do, and whether it is physically or mentally demanding can affect your ability to recover lost pay.

If you are not working at the time an accident happens, it can be more difficult to recover future losses, depending on your circumstances. For example, a person who is already unable to work may have a weaker lost future pay claim. On the other hand, a construction worker, truck driver or surgeon who is made unable to do his or her job can recover future losses.

Will the car insurance company cover my lost wages?

Basic liability motor vehicle insurance may provide compensation for lost wages after an accident. However, to prove your lost income was due to your resulting injuries, you typically must provide extensive documentation.  

Lost Wages Are Considered Economic Damages

Under Georgia law, lost past or future pay falls in to the category of damages known as economic losses. Such losses also include medical bills, property damage, and other out of pocket expenses. It is important to document all economic losses, just as you would keep track of receipts and expenses if you were running a business.

Evidence of your lost pay should be presented by you or your injury attorney to the insurance adjuster at the time you make your settlement demand for compensation. You can use an employer verification, W-2 forms, 1099 Forms, pay stubs and banking records to prove your economic damages.

Common Questions about Working after an Accident

What If You Lose Your Job As a Result of A Car Accident?

Employers usually aren’t concerned whether you were at fault or the victim of an accident. Instead, what matters more is their ability to fulfill the obligations you left behind and ensure the work gets done.
If you are unable to work and you lose your job as a result of your car accident, you may recover lost income while you recover and look for another job. One thing to keep in mind is that you may need to provide evidence that you were or are looking for a job. In most cases, you are not entitled to sit by and not look for a job and still recover lost pay. This is known as mitigating your damages. You will want to be able to prove your effort to find a new job.

What If You Lose An Ability to Do Physical Labor?

If you don’t have a desk job or your job also involves physical labor, you already know that a car accident can severely impact your ability to make a living. If this is you, you may be entitled to compensation for the difference between what you were paid in the past, compared to a less strenuous job you may have been forced to accept, assuming it pays less.
Additionally, in some cases it is possible to include loss of the ability to labor physically as part of your damages for pain and suffering and lost enjoyment of life.

Recovering Pay For Loss of An Office Job or Capacity to Work

Even if your job does not require hard physical labor, you may be entitled to recover past and future income due to severe injuries after a car accident.

For example, head injuries may make it difficult to work or concentrate, causing you to lose income. In such cases, medical evidence from doctors, including neurologists, may be used to prove your inability to work.

Additionally, head, neck, and shoulder injuries may sometimes make it difficult to stand or sit for lengthy periods of time, making it harder to work. Office workers who can prove a diminished ability to work due to a physical injury, may be able to recover lost earnings capacity.

How Lawyers Recover Compensation for Lost Work Income

Experienced personal injury lawyers prove lost income claims by using medical records, doctors and experts, and employment records to show a past loss of income. Future losses are often proven by obtaining functional capacity evaluations or permanent impairment ratings, and using economic experts to show how much the future losses are expected to be.

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Will Going Back to Work After a Car Accident Hurt My Case?

In most cases, no. In fact, insurance adjusters and Jurors who may be looking at your case are likely to be skeptical of your injury claims if you do not return to work after a minor injury. If you have suffered a major injury, going back to work is also unlikely to hurt your case, because co-workers can testify that your job was harder for you to perform after your car accident injury.
In any case, we always recommend that you ask your doctor about returning to work and listen to the MD’s advice. Going back to work too soon can aggravate an injury and cause an even longer recovery period or other complications.

Consultations Are Free at The Millar Law Firm

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury that includes lost income from a car accident, we can help. Call The Millar Law Firm today at (770) 400-0000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

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