Have you been injured in a Miami car accident? If your accident was caused by another driver or third party’s negligence, and your injuries have caused you to miss work (or you will be unable to work and earn money going forward), you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages or loss of earning capacity. Without financial income, taking care of your day to day living expenses can be difficult. Paying mounting medical bills may be impossible. When injuries are permanent, a personal injury claim can recover lost earnings as well as medical expenses and pain and suffering.
The experienced Miami car accident attorneys at Lavent Law Personal Injury Lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you are entitled to.
How Lavent Law Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Recover Lost Wages Following a Miami Car Accident
The process of physically recovering from a Miami car accident can be lengthy. For people with catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, multiple broken bones, or spinal cord injuries, injuries may be permanent. For injuries that are not permanent, the healing process to maximum improvement often takes weeks, or months. You may need surgeries, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and lots of rest to heal.
If you were employed at the time of your accident, your available sick time and vacation time may be quickly exhausted, leading to inevitable financial strain from having no income. Car accident victims may be forced to take unpaid leaves or quit their jobs, and may be replaced. Along with the loss of income, medical expenses for your emergency care, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and therapy can make it financially impossible to stay afloat.
In the most basic terms, lost wages are meant to compensate you when you cannot work because of the injuries you suffered in a car accident. When your injuries force you to stop working, the Miami personal injury lawyers at Lavent Law Personal Injury Lawyer can help you recover the maximum lost earnings available following your accident, including:
- Income from your full-time or part-time job
- Loss of future earning capacity
- “Side-hustle” earnings
- Reimbursement for vacation / paid time off.
After a car or truck accident in Florida resulting in injury, seek medical attention as soon as possible. This is critical for your own well-being and for documenting your injuries. As soon as your immediate medical needs are addressed, contact our Miami personal injury law firm to discuss your next steps for recovering compensation for lost wages.
How are Lost Wages Determined?
Lost earnings are a type of “economic” damages, meaning they can be measured and calculated. If, for example, you have a job and make $4,000 a month, and have past pay stubs reflecting your income, you likely can recover $4,000 for each month you are unable to work, because that is what you would have earned.
Of course, not everyone works a “normal” salaried job. If you are a contractor, freelancer, rideshare driver, or commissions-only employee, you will need to provide evidence of your income. This could be bank deposits for payments, contracts for future work, or tax returns from prior years.
If you have questions about documenting your earnings for a personal injury claim, contact Attorney Boris Lavent at Lavent Law Personal Injury Lawyer.
Are Lost Wages Covered Under Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP) in Florida?
In Florida, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance, through your own insurer, covers a percentage of the first $10,000 of your medical expenses and lost wages. This is often called “no-fault” insurance and is available regardless of who is at fault. To be able to recover PIP benefits, you must visit a doctor within 14 days of an accident, and complete a police accident report within 10 days of an accident. Your insurance policy will state how much time you have to file a claim.
Your PIP insurance policy must pay 80 percent of emergency transport and emergency medical care, and 60 percent of lost gross income and earning capacity damages up to the policy limits.
You will have to submit a “Wage and Salary verification,” statement documenting your weekly earnings for 13 weeks leading up to the date of your accident. Your employer will have to sign off on this, and also state the dates you were absent following your accident, and whether you were paid during this accident.
What About Commissions and Self-Employment Income?
If you are self-employed or work a job that is commission based, such as multi-level marketing or real estate sales, your earnings will be calculated based on prior earnings. You will need to provide proof of past commission and payment checks or 1099 income, and any other documentation of your compensation agreements. It will be important to document your injuries properly.
What If you Were In Between Jobs When You Were Injured?
For those that were in between jobs, or, for example, a college student or a stay at home parent that anticipated to work in the future, the timeline for being able to apply for employment may be significantly or permanently delayed due to your injuries.
Under Florida law, victims can be compensated for lost future earning capacity, if their injuries caused them to lose the capacity to earn income in the future.
Loss of earning capacity amount is calculated based on reasonable, projected earnings. For example, a skilled neurosurgeon who has significantly impaired the use of his right hand may still be able to work, but may be entitled to more compensation for lost earning capacity than a medical assistant in training. In many cases, compensation amounts are ultimately negotiated.
Having a personal injury lawyer who can document injuries and earnings, and present a strong case will be critical to recovering the full compensation available.
What if the Defendant Disagrees About Your Wages?
Like with any other points of contention in a personal injury claim, if the other side disagrees with your request, it will be decided in court. Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal previously ruled that there is no specific required evidence to present to the jury to award lost earnings.
The court also ruled that your burden for proving lost wages is lower than your burden to prove that the defendant caused your injuries. You must just show your losses to “reasonable certainty.”
Although the majority of cases are settled outside of court, we will prepare your personal injury case for trial. This will send a clear message to the insurance company that if they are not fair in compensating you, we will not hesitate to bring a claim to trial.
Common Mistakes People Make in Personal Injury Insurance Claims
Lost wages are just one type of compensation you may be entitled to following a Miami car accident. A critical mistake that people make is not asking for enough compensation for their injuries, because they don’t understand how their injuries will impact them.
If your injuries haven’t begun to heal, you do not know if your injuries will be affecting you in several months.
Other mistakes which can reduce the value of your claim include:
Not following your doctor’s orders
If your doctor recommends you see a specialist, and you don’t go, the insurance company may question this and assert that your injuries are not as serious as you say they are. If your doctor recommends you not go to work for 4 weeks but you go to work after two weeks, the insurance company may also use this as a justification to compensate you less.
Getting too friendly with the claims adjuster
Insurance claims adjusters are trained to be empathetic, friendly, and great listeners. They will not interrupt you, especially when asking you about the accident or your injuries. Do not speculate on the cause of the accident, or offer opinions. If you exaggerate or downplay your injuries, either way, this will negatively affect your claim. When you call the insurance company to report your accident, stick to the facts of the accident. Don’t say you have whiplash or any other injury (especially if you haven’t been diagnosed). Do not provide a recorded statement.
Posting on social media about your accident
Courts have ruled that there is no expectation of privacy on social media, even if profiles are set to private. Insurance companies frequently scour claimants’ social media profiles for evidence that their injuries are less serious than they claim. Personal injury lawyers recommend not posting or being tagged in any social media channels from the time of your accident until your claim is resolved.
Once you hire an attorney, they will be able to give you further guidance about your claim, what to do, and what not to do. You should always consider the possibility that your claim could end up in court.
Get a Free Consultation With a Miami, FL Car Crash Lawyer
Insurance companies make huge profits from policyholder premiums and keep their profits by denying and minimizing claims. Companies are quick to offer low settlements following an accident because if you accept it, the claim goes away for them. This is in the insurance company’s best interests. If you reject the initial offer, they may shift you to present more evidence to get more money. Hiring a lawyer can help you get the full and fair, maximum compensation you deserve.
Don’t leave money on the table. Before you accept compensation for your claim, talk to a lawyer about your claim.
Other Car Accident Cases We Cover
- Defective tires accidents
- Head-on collisions
- Self-driving car accidents
- DWI accidents
- Intersection crashes
- Red and yellow light accidents