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Your Personal Injury Claim And Your Lost Time And Earnings

By Dan Baldyga Email: dbpaw@comcast.net

Other than your medical bills your lost time and earnings (commonly and/or often described as “Lost Wages”) are the days and hours you were unable to function at work thus adding up to the money you may have lost. This constitutes one of the most important elements of your damages, namely your Lost Wages!

Generally, you shouldn’t view your time away from work, because of an injury, strictly as “Lost Time and Earnings” but rather as “Lost Earning Capacity“. In many instances you can claim your “Lost Time And Earnings“, even if you’ve had no actual loss of money! For example, when your salary is paid because you’ve taken “Sick Leave“, or because of an Accident and Health Policy that’s available to you, or some other similar arrangement.

DOCUMENTATION OF LOST INCOME: If you’re regularly employed by someone else, ask your supervisor, boss (or the person in charge of such matters) to write a letter for you, on company stationary. This letter should include: Your name, position, rate of pay, number of hours you normally work and the number of days, and/or weeks, you missed because of the accident!

Be ready to discuss with the insurance adjuster one (or perhaps even more) of the 6 following potentials:

#1. If your work demands heavy labor and/or lifting.

#2. If you lost any vacation time or sick leave.

#3. If there was any loss of future earning capacity.

#4. If you were absent from one or more business meetings.

#5. If you were unable to make appointments with important or potential customers.

#6. If you had an opportunity for an interview that may have led to a better job.

SHOULD YOU BE SELF-EMPLOYED OR OWN A BUSINESS: Be sure to collect for the cost of any additional help you were forced to hire while undergoing medical treatment and/or recuperating. PREPARE YOURSELF AND BE READY TO DISCUSS: If your work demands heavy labor or lifting, how many hours you normally work each day and week, your average income per week, if your business lost money while you were laid up, and have proof as to how much!

To substantiate your claim you should consider presenting to the adjuster whatever documents will prove a loss in billing or services. Two simple examples would be:

#1. A diary or calendar showing appointment’s you had to cancel.

#2. Letters (or documents) which clearly reflect the reality of important business meetings you had no choice but were buggered up and unable to attend.

COMMISSIONS AND OVERTIME: Commissions and overtime are absolutely legitimate losses you can claim. Be sure to obtain a letter from your employer, on his letterhead, spelling out the approximate amount of money you lost in commissions and overtime. This can be accomplished by reviewing last year\'s figures, during the same period, then averaging them out - - for that identical space in time) you were unable to work.

TO ASSIST IN YOUR LOST WAGE SITUATION YOU MUST ASK YOURSELF TWO BASIC QUESTIONS:

(1) Did the injury you were the victim of necessitate a change of job or employment?

(2) Did the injury allow you to get back to work but only on a \"Part Time\" basis? If the answer to one, or both, of these two questions is “Yes”, insist that your employer document these facts on their letterhead. The proof of either will absolutely give your claim more value.

Be sure to collect for the full Gross wage’s you lost, not just the Net.

For every week of “Total Disability” (a fact your attending physician must absolutely clearly state in the Medical Report) your doctor declares, you should use your total weekly income, even though you were paid!

And again for every week of “Partial Disability” your doctor states in that Medical Report, you can claim up to 50% of your daily and/or weekly income, even if you didn’t lose any!

If you had to take what your company identifies as “Sick Leave” or “Vacation Pay” (during the period you missed from work) that must be taken into consideration when determining the value of your claim because of the accident! Never forget you would have been entitled to use that sick leave, or vacation time, for other periods when you may have needed or wanted it.

If you’re forced to take your “Sick Leave“, or your “Vacation Pay“ (because of an accident) it’s to be considered the same as losing the money itself!

You’re also entitled to be compensated for work opportunities you may not have been able to take advantage of because of your injuries. Even if you can’t point to specific dollar amounts you may have lost, the fact is the adjuster knows the potential, in the area of “Lost Opportunities” (situations you were unable to take advantage of) are legitimate issues and (if somewhere down the line they were presented to a sympathetic judge or jury) they would absolutely - - increase the dollar value of your claim.