If I Am Injured, How Can I Prove My Lost Wage Claim?

After being injured in an accident through no fault of your own, you are entitled to pursue damages, including lost wages, via a personal injury lawsuit. “Lost wages” refers to the money you lost when you were unable to work due to your physical injuries. Unfortunately, many personal injury victims have no idea what evidence they need to support their lost wage claim which will ultimately have a major impact on any settlement they receive. The experienced Portsmouth personal injury lawyer at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help you collect relevant evidence such as tax returns and pay stubs to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your lost wages as well as your other damages.   

How Are Lost Wages Defined?

The term lost wages concerns the benefits and income you missed out on while you were recovering from your accident-related injuries. Lost wages can take many forms, including:

  • Salaries
  • Hourly wages
  • Vacation, sick, and personal days
  • Retirement benefits
  • Health benefits
  • Overtime
  • Commissions
  • Bonuses
  • Tips
  • Raises
  • Promotions
  • Stock options

In order to be eligible to pursue a lost wage claim, you have to be able to show the income you would have earned were it not for your accident. The court is not just going to take your word for it.  

Proving a Lost Wage Claim When You Are Traditionally Employed

Your goal is to supply documentation that proves you were employed at the time of your accident, that your injury kept you out of work, and the total amount of income you lost. It is not enough to prove that you were injured at the same time that you had a job. You also need to show proof from your doctor that you were unable to work and proof of how much money you would have made, which will prove the wage loss damages the accident caused. This can be accomplished with:

Previous W-2s

Proving lost earnings, whether current or future, can have a huge impact on your claim’s overall value. One way to show how much money you lost is with a copy of the previous year’s Wage and Tax Statement, also known as a W-2. This official document will verify how much money you earned at your job in the past. A W-2 can also help prove that you lost wages because your injury forced you to work reduced hours. 

Employer Wage Verification

Your employer can fill out a wage verification form or write a missive confirming how much money you make, the hours you usually work, and that you were absent during the time in question. It is a good idea to request the wage verification by submitting a written authorization from your Portsmouth personal injury lawyer to your employer. Employers are, by law, required to maintain employment records, so this information should be easy for them to obtain.

Time Cards

Many shift workers and hourly employees have a time card they fill out or a time clock they punch at the start of every shift and again before they leave. You can ask your immediate supervisor or Human Resources Department for a printout of your punch card or timesheet for the days you missed because of your injuries. This can help prove the days you missed as well as the pay for those hours.

Pay Stubs

Another good way to prove your lost wage claim is with pay stubs. Not all employers use punch cards, but they are required to pay their employees. Since your pay stubs reflect how many hours you worked and how much you were paid for those hours in a give pay period, you can use them stubs as supporting evidence. If you haven’t kept your pay stubs, reach out to your immediate supervisor or your company’s HR Department.  

Proving a Lost Wage Claim When You Are Self-Employed

Tax Returns

If you work for yourself, the best way to demonstrate lost wages in a Virginia Beach personal injury case is to present your tax return from the year your accident took place.  

Invoices and Other Documents

If you have invoices that show what you were paid for past jobs, events, etc., they can be used to prove your lost income. However, these types of records need to go back for a minimum of three years, so unless you have kept meticulous records, this may not be an option. Copies of current contracts, and statements from clients or customers about work opportunities you missed because of your injuries are also useful.   

Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Any type of personal injury accident can disrupt your life, including your ability to earn a living. Whether you were out of work for just a few weeks, missed opportunities for raises, bonuses, and commissions, or lost your ability to work altogether, an experienced Portsmouth personal injury lawyer at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp will be able to help. In one recent case, we achieved a $1 million settlement for a client whose leg was crushed by a forklift operator. 

If you were injured through no fault of your own and have questions regarding a lost wage claim, schedule a free consultation with a qualified member of our legal team by calling (833) 997-1774 or filling out our online contact form. For your convenience, we have offices in Portsmouth, Norfolk, Hampton, and Virginia Beach.