Lost Wages After a Car Accident in Beaufort
If you are seriously injured in a car accident in Beaufort, SC, you may be forced to miss work while you receive treatment for your injuries and recover from impairments caused by the crash. Losing wages at the same time that you are facing unexpected medical bills can be financially disastrous and can set you back for weeks, months, or even years.
Fortunately, with the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you may be able to recover compensation for your lost wages by pursuing a car accident claim.
Schiller & Hamilton has been helping car accident victims in Beaufort and across South Carolina for over two decades. To learn more about how we can help you during this stressful time, contact us today by phone or online for a free consultation.
What Is a Lost Wage Claim?
Lost wages refer to the money you would have made if you had not missed work because of your accident. To secure compensation for lost wages, you will have to be able to demonstrate that you missed work as a direct result of the accident.
Lost wages are different from diminished earning capacity, which refers to the money you could have made in the future if your ability to work had not been permanently impacted. Lost compensation refers to other financial benefits beyond wages, such as bonuses or perks, that you missed out on due to your accident. All three of these damages may be possible to recover, depending on the specifics of your accident.
How to Claim Missed Payments After a Crash
There are two primary ways to go about making a lost wage claim in South Carolina: Make a claim with their insurance company, or file a lawsuit. If the other driver was at fault and had insurance, you may make a bodily injury liability (BIL) claim. If the other driver was at fault but did not have insurance, you can make a claim with your own insurance policy under the uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) portion of your policy.
Regardless of which path you take, you will need to prove that you lost wages as a result of injuries you sustained in the accident. To do so, you will need to obtain documentation from your health care providers establishing your injuries. Also, you’ll have to demonstrate that your injuries were a direct result of the accident, which can be shown with medical records and the accident report.
Pay stubs or other documentation from your employer showing the money you would have earned during your recovery time will be submitted. In addition, a letter from your employer verifying specific details, including the length of your absence and normal pay rate will also become part of the claim.
If you seek lost wages compensation through insurance, it is more than possible that the insurance company will try to offer you significantly less than your claim is worth. They will often do this to save themselves money, hoping that you’ll accept the offered amount and simply go away.
If this happens, you will want to hire a lawyer immediately for help negotiating with the insurance company representatives. If the insurance refuses to offer you the appropriate funds, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit to recover the money you need.
How Missed Wages Are Calculated in Beaufort
Lost income is calculated differently depending on whether you are an hourly worker, a salaried worker, or self-employed.
- Hourly: Take your hourly rate and multiply it by the number of hours you missed while recovering from your accident. For example, if you missed five days of work (eight hours a day) and normally earn $10 an hour, your calculation would be $10 x (8 hours x 5 days) = $400. If you work irregular hours, or if tips are a large part of your income, you may need to use your tax returns from the previous year to demonstrate what you likely would have earned had you not missed work.
- Salary: Take your yearly salary and divide by 2,080, the number of work hours in a year. This gives you your hourly rate. Then, multiply your hourly rate by the number of hours you missed while recovering. For example, if you make $50,000 a year and missed five days of work, your calculation would be ($50,000 / 2,080 hours) x (5 days x 8 hours) = $961.54.
- Self-Employed: If you are self-employed, you will pursue lost income rather than lost wages. Proving this can be more difficult. Using previous tax returns or other forms of evidence to demonstrate your lost income, you may need to show missed appointments or how much money you made during your accident recovery as compared to previous months.
It is possible that you may also be able to recover financial compensation for missed opportunities, such as promotions, job interviews, and more. Proving these losses is less straightforward and may require additional evidence.
Even if you were able to take paid time off for the work you missed due to the accident, you may still be entitled to recover compensation. The reason: it is unfair to force you to use your sick leave or vacation time to recover from injuries that weren’t your fault instead of using the time off for your own purposes. The at-fault party should not get off the hook simply because you were able to use paid leave.
Regardless of how you are paid or how much you lost as a result of your accident, a lawyer can be vital to the success of your claim. They can ensure you gather all the necessary evidence and help you make persuasive arguments to prove your claims.
Contact an Attorney for Help with a Lost Wage Claim
For over two decades, Schiller & Hamilton has fought to protect accident victims in Beaufort and across South Carolina. We have helped our clients recover lost wages and other compensation that they need to support themselves and their families. We have won millions of dollars in compensation for our past clients, and we are prepared to work hard to do the same for you.
We are committed to the satisfaction of our clients. When you schedule a free consultation with us, you will meet directly with an attorney who will take the time to fully evaluate your needs. If you choose to hire us, we make ourselves available 24/7 to answer any questions you have, no matter when they arise.
It is this dedication to and compassion for our clients that has won us our many accolades, including being named among the Top 100 National Trial Lawyers, the NAOPIA Top 10, and Avvo’s Clients’ Choice.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Beaufort, South Carolina, and lost wages as a result, Schiller & Hamilton can help you seek the compensation that you need. To learn more about what we can do for you, contact us today by phone or online for a free consultation.