After a car accident, you may be left with injuries, property damage, medical bills, and more. If you have suffered severe injuries, you may also be unable to work. Without getting your regular paycheck, you can fall behind on bills and even face foreclosures and repossessions, depending on how long you’re out of work.
The good news is, if you were not at-fault, you can file a claim to still receive at least part of your regular wages. At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, we can help you through the entire process of getting the compensation you deserve after a car wreck, including lost wages. Give us a call at 800-431-6841 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.
What Does “Lost Wages” Mean?
In terms of a car accident, “lost wages” refers to the income you would have earned at your job from the point you became too injured to work to the point you are medically cleared to return to work. This includes wages, benefits, bonuses, and more. The injuries must have happened directly because of the car wreck, not from a previous incident. However, if you have a previous injury that’s aggravated or worsened by the wreck, you may still be eligible for lost wages.
Depending on the severity and length of your injury, your earning capacity may also be impacted by the car accident. However, compensation for your “lost earning capacity” will likely be handled differently than lost wages.
Getting Compensation for Lost Wages in Miami
In Miami, lost wages are covered by Florida’s personal injury protection (PIP) insurance requirements. All drivers registered in the state of Florida are required to carry this form of insurance. PIP is mostly associated with covering medical costs. However, PIP also covers part of your lost wages.
Specifically, if your doctor says you are too injured to return to work, PIP will cover 60% of your lost wages, up to $10,000. This compensation not only covers the actual wages you lost, but also services you had to pay for because you couldn’t perform your household duties due to your injuries, such as hiring a maid to do laundry for you.
It’s important to note that the $10,000 limit also includes medical bills. So if you have combined medical expenses and lost wages that exceed $10,000, you are able to file a personal injury lawsuit for the remaining amount. If you’re rushed to the emergency room after a wreck and you require testing like x-rays or an MRI, your medical bills can quickly exceed $10,000, leaving no PIP benefits for lost wages. That’s why you should speak to a Miami car accident lawyer as soon as possible to figure out what your legal options are.
How to Calculate Lost Wages
Calculating your lost wages is generally simple. It comes down to whether you’re paid hourly or you’re a salaried employee. If you are paid hourly, take the number of hours you missed at work, multiply it by your hourly rate, and you have your lost wages. For instance, let’s say you missed a week of work and you’re paid $10 an hour. That’s 40 hours of missed work, times $10, equaling $400 of lost wages.
If you’re paid a salary, there’s a bit more math involved. Take your salary and divide it by 2,080, the number of work hours in a year. Then, multiply that answer by the number of hours you missed. For example, you make $50,000 a year. That’s $24.04 an hour. Again, you missed one week of work, which is 40 hours. So, your lost wages are $961.60.
Of course, on top of your lost actual wages are any bonuses, benefits and other compensation you may have received if you were working. In addition, you will need to add the services you had to pay for because you couldn’t perform household duties. Your Miami car accident attorney can help you calculate the full value of your lost wages.
Evidence You Need to Prove You Have Lost Wages
You only need a few pieces of evidence to prove the amount of wages you lost because of your car accident. First, you’ll need a doctor’s note that shows you are unable to work. Your doctor may also give you a disability slip to give to your insurance company and/or employer.
Second, you’ll need your recent pay stubs to demonstrate how much you usually make. If you don’t have paystubs for one reason or another, such as if you are self-employed, you can instead use last year’s tax returns to show how much you make. If you make an irregular income, again such as if you’re self-employed, you can use invoices or client correspondence to demonstrate your typical wages.
You may also need a letter from your employer. This letter should confirm how many days you were absent, how much you’re paid, the number of hours you work, and other important details. Finally, you will need the receipts for any services you had to pay for to handle your household duties.
Who Pays for Lost Wages After a Car Accident?
In Florida, your lost wages are paid by your insurance company under PIP. If your expenses exceed $10,000, the excess will either be paid by your own insurance company or the other drivers’ insurer, depending on who was at fault for the wreck. It also depends on the type of insurance you and the other driver have.
If the other driver is at fault, you can submit a claim through their liability bodily injury coverage. If they’re uninsured, you may be able to collect lost wages through your own insurance, especially if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
If you are the driver at fault, it may be more difficult to get compensation for lost wages above the $10,000 threshold. Your insurer can deny your claim, which can leave you with very few options to get the compensation you need.
How a Car Accident Lawyer in Miami Can Help You
Getting the compensation you deserve for lost wages after a car accident can be difficult, especially if you are owed money above the $10,000 that PIP pays. If you weren’t at fault for the accident and the insurance company refuses to pay the compensation you deserve, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them.
At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, our experienced Miami car accident lawyers have won over $1 billionon behalf of our clients. We know what it takes to get you the full compensation for lost wages you deserve. Give us a call at 800-431-6841 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.