How to Prove Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Case

January 15, 2021

If you get injured in an accident, you most likely have to take time off work to recover. You may miss a few days while seeking medical treatment, or a few months if a serious injury prevents you from performing the critical tasks of your job. If your injury is disabling, you may never be able to return to work at all.

A personal injury claim in Arizona could reimburse you for both past and future lost wages after an accident. It will be up to you as the injured party, however, to prove this type of loss.

Pay Stubs

Proof of lost wages can take many forms. One of the most common types of evidence is the worker’s pay stubs. Print out your pay stubs for at least the year prior to your injury. This will serve as evidence of how much money you used to make, on average. An insurance company or court will need to see your pay stubs to offer fair compensation for missed wages.

If you earn tips as a major part of your income, or if you’re self-employed and own your own business, you may also need tax documents to prove how much you made before the accident. Gather copies of W2s and tax return forms from past years to use during your insurance claim. You may also be able to use customer invoices if you own a business.

Sick Leave or Vacation Days

If you used sick leave because of your injury, you are entitled to reimbursement. Using your sick leave or vacation pay after your accident is the same as losing the income itself. Provide evidence of the sick days or vacation time you used in the form of your requests to your employer or your pay stubs during an insurance claim.

Employee Benefits Documentation

If your job came with employee benefits, you could seek compensation for any benefits you lost because of your accident. Employee benefits can include bonuses, special projects, 401(k) contributions and health insurance. You can prove this type of loss using documents given to you when you became an employee, such as an Employee Handbook, or by going to Human Resources for documentation.

Letters From Your Doctors and Employer

If you are seeking compensation for lost wages over the span of weeks or months, it can help to submit letters from your employer and your doctors. The insurance company will want evidence that your injuries are serious enough to take you out of work for the time period specified. You can provide this evidence in the form of a letter from your doctor validating the severity and extent of your injuries, as well as a letter from your employer confirming that you cannot work until you heal.

Proof of Future Lost Capacity to Earn

In Arizona, you can recover compensation not only for past wages lost, but also future lost capacity to earn due to a long-term or permanent injury. If your injury will take you out of work for the foreseeable future, you can seek compensation from the defendant for this loss with the right type of proof.

Start by establishing your projected earnings based on previous pay stubs. A personal injury lawyer can help you calculate what your future wages might have looked like based on inflation, as well as opportunities such as promotions and pay raises. Then, project how long your injury will likely take you out of work according to your medical records.

You may need proof such as testimony from subject-matter experts to convince an insurance company to pay enough in future lost wages. A lawyer can help you by hiring forensic accountants and medical experts on your behalf. Although it can be difficult to receive fair compensation for lost financial opportunities, a lawyer can make it easier. Speak to an attorney before settling for less money than you deserve in lost wages.