Under the Virginia personal injury law, you can recover lost income (current and future income) – where the loss directly occurred because of the injuries you suffered due to another's fault.
It does not necessarily have to a regular weekly or monthly salary. You may be a temporary worker or an hourly wage worker, or even earning an income as a self-employed, professional service provider, or a business owner.
In special situations, the court may consider how much you are able to earn on average in a week or in a month, and what is your average earning capacity for future – based on your past income track record (income proofs – pay stubs or income tax records may be required).
The law is equally applicable to people who have a steady job and draw a regular salary as well as those who are self-employed and whose earnings depend on the amount of work they do. So, even if you do not have a steady salary, but earn an irregular income, you are entitled to recover lost wages by filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the party at fault.
Why Recovering Lost Wages is Important
The injuries you suffer in an accident can affect your ability to earn to a great extent. If the injuries are serious, you might not be able to work until you make a full recovery – which can take anywhere from a few days to a few months, or even longer in some cases.
The loss of income resulting from your inability to work can make it harder for you to meet your day-to-day expenses as well as the expenses associated with your treatment and rehabilitation.
In such cases, it is important to recover lost wages – among other kinds of damages – from the liable party by filing a claim or a lawsuit with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney in Virginia.
The compensation you receive can help you meet the expenses related to your treatment and rehabilitation and also ensure that your financial needs are met until you make a complete recovery and start working again.
Recovering Lost Wages in Virginia
The first thing you need to know about filing a personal injury lawsuit in Virginia is the statute of limitations, which is two years. The two-year time frame starts from the date of the accident.
Virginia does not place any caps on the amount of economic and non-economic damages that can be recovered in personal injury cases. So, you can seek an adequate compensation based on the extent of the injuries you suffered, the amount of wages you lost, and a number of other factors.
In order to recover lost wages, you need to submit your medical records and proof of lost income – to the liable party’s insurance provider or in a court of law – depending on whether you file a claim or a lawsuit.
You need to produce your medical records along with your physician’s narrative report to establish the fact that you sustained injuries in the accident, as a result of which you were unable to work for a period of time.
Proof of Lost Income
Providing evidence for lost wages is a fairly straightforward process for salaried employees, as they only need to get a signed document – listing the salary, commission, perks, and other benefits they receive – from their employer.
If you, on the other hand, are self-employed or run a business, you need to produce a number of documents to prove that you lost income as a result of the injuries you sustained in the accident. They include:
- Business documents
- Your hourly rate (if you are a freelancer) and the number of hours you missed work due to your injuries
- Tax returns
- Contracts signed with clients
- Profit and loss statements
- Projects or piecework you lost as a result of your injuries
- Correspondence with potential clients, whom you lost as a result of your injuries
Loss of Earning Capacity
In some cases, the injuries you sustain in an accident might leave you with a physical or mental disability, which might render you unable to work or affect your ability to work to a considerable extent. In such cases, you can also recover damages for lost future earnings.
It is important to note that the claim you make regarding your diminished earning capacity due to the injuries you sustained in the accident needs to be backed with evidence.
A skilled personal injury attorney can tell you what kind of evidence you need to produce in order to prove that your earning potential is greatly diminished as a result of your injuries or disabilities.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
Virginia is one of the few states that have adopted the contributory negligence law, under which a claimant (the victim) cannot receive any compensation from the defendant (the person who caused the accident), if it is proven that their own actions contributed to the accident – even by a small margin.
This is why it is extremely important for you to hire a competent and experienced lawyer who has the legal knowledge and resources to build a solid case against the defendant and ensure that you receive an adequate compensation for the economic and non-economic losses you suffered as a result of the accident.
The personal injury attorneys at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn have over 30 years of experience in handling personal injury lawsuits and are recognized as ‘Super Lawyers’ for their excellent track record and success rate.
We can accurately assess the economic and non-economic losses you suffered as a result of the accident, build a strong case against the parties responsible, negotiate on your behalf, and recover damages through settlement or litigation. We will not charge you a cent unless and until we win your case and recover damages.
For a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers, call us today at 800-752-0042.