When you have suffered an injury in a car accident in Arkansas, you have the legal right to be paid your full damages when someone else was legally responsible for what happened. One aspect of your damages is the money that you could have earned had your ability to work not been interrupted.
Lost wages can be a significant part of your car accident settlement. The Little Rock, AR auto accident attorneys at Denton & Zachary can help you maximize both the lost wages part of your settlement and other elements of your damages.
The Responsible Party Must Pay for Your Lost Wages in a Car Crash
Once you can prove that someone was to blame for your car accident, they have the legal obligation to put you in the same place as you would have been had the accident never happened in the first place. One part of the obligation is to pay for all the medical bills that you incur to treat your injuries. In addition, the responsible party must pay for your non-economic damages, such as your pain and suffering.
The responsible party must also compensate you for other things that you lost. If your injuries are serious enough, you may be unable to work as much as you did before the injury. If you have suffered a severe injury, you may be unable to work at all.
Lost Wages You Can Receive From a Car Accident
You have a legal right to be paid for all the money that you can have earned from working and did not because you suffered an injury. The same principle applies to:
- Money that you lost because you could not work between the time of the accident and when you filed the claim
- Income that you will be unable to earn in the future
- Higher income that you cannot earn because your physical condition cost you a promotion that you otherwise would have earned
- A reduction in your earnings capacity because you cannot work the same amount or perform the same type of work that you did before your car accident
How the Insurance Company Will Make Your Life More Difficult
Like any part of your car accident claim, you have the burden of proof to demonstrate your injuries. The insurance company will not pay you a penny that you cannot fully support or justify with your claim. They will take a very skeptical view towards any claim that you file, regardless of the circumstances, because they do not want to pay you any money. If there is an opening to challenge you, the insurance company will seize it.
There is usually no such thing as a straightforward claim for lost wages. The insurance company may raise the following challenges to your lost wages claim:
- They will question the amount of time that you say you cannot work.
- They will challenge whether your injury is severe enough to keep you from working.
- They will not accept your claim that your injury has diminished your earnings capability.
The situation can be even more challenging when you are self-employed. If you work for yourself, you have the same legal entitlement to lost wages as anyone else. However, you can expect the insurance company to dispute what you will have earned during the time that you cannot work. Self-employment earnings can be difficult to estimate, even when you are using past earnings as a guide.
The Insurance Company Will Always Try to Pay You Less
You may need to deal with one or all of these challenges when negotiating your car accident settlement. The insurance company will do whatever it can to underpay your claim. Your personal injury attorney will justify your claim and provide the necessary evidence to the insurance company.
In some cases, your attorney will need to work with a vocational expert to show exactly how the injury has altered your career and earnings potential. In addition, you may have challenges because you are trying to estimate what you may earn in the future.
Know the Value of Your Car Accident Claim
When you are dealing with serious injuries that will keep you from working in the future, the lost wages portion of your claim can be a large part of your settlement. It is crucial to have an exact and supportable estimate of your lost wages. Otherwise, you may be left without money in the future when you are unable to work and need it for your family.
If you underestimate the amount of money that is needed, you cannot go back and get more from the insurance company. Once you sign the settlement agreement, they are off the hook, both now and in the future. Therefore, you need an experienced car accident attorney to help you get it right now.
Our Arkansas Car Accident Attorneys Can Help Recover Lost Wages
The car accident attorneys at Denton & Zachary know how to get it right when it comes to both estimating the value of your claim and fighting for you to receive the most money. We know when and how to push back when the insurance company is trying to make life more difficult for you and your family. Your first step is to speak with us for a free case evaluation. You can message us online or call us today at 501-273-1695 to begin the legal process.
FAQs About Claiming Lost Wages From a Car Accident
What if I cannot agree with the insurance company on a settlement amount?
You do not have to accept a settlement that pays you too little. You can file a lawsuit in court, and the jury can decide your damages if you win.
Am I entitled to future lost wages?
Yes. You can get compensation for both past and future lost earnings.
What if I was due a promotion before my injury?
If you can prove that you will have likely received the promotion, that can be factored into the calculation of your lost wages.