Following a collision, one of the top concerns for Indiana car accident victims is whether or not they will be able to recover any lost wages or income for their time off work.
Fortunately, if you were not placed at fault for the accident, Indiana law allows you to recover for the following:
- Costs related to your medical treatment
- Lost wages or earnings
- Pain and suffering
Depending on the severity of your injuries, lost wages or earnings could represent a significant portion of your overall accident claim.
For this reason, Boulton Law Group receives several questions surrounding lost wages, and there are a number of considerations that need to be kept in mind before making a lost wage request.
For example, there are different steps that will need to be taken depending on your employment status, specifically whether or not you are a W-2 worker or someone who identifies as self-employed or an independent contractor/freelancer.
Understanding the difference between the two is the first step toward helping to ensure you are fully compensated for any lost wages related to your car accident.
Proving lost wages for a W-2 worker
W-2 workers make up the majority of Indiana’s workforce. These are Hoosiers that work directly for an employer in a more traditional setting. This could include any number of companies, such as Wal-Mart, Eli Lilly & Company, Starbucks, Anthem, etc.
When a W-2 worker is injured, Boulton Law Group will help to ensure you are compensated for your lost wages by requesting a series of items, such as:
- pay stubs
- previous year’s tax return and/or W-2
- a letter from your employer verifying the time off work and your current pay rate.
We then use the information received to calculate the loss of earnings and send it to the insurance company with your final demand package.
Overall, proving lost wages for a W-2 worker in Indiana can be relatively straightforward, however, it is important to keep in mind that your time off work must be related to the recovery period for your accident and it must be a result of doctor’s orders.
Proving lost wages for a self-employed worker
Unlike, someone who receives a traditional W-2, self-employed accident victims looking to be reimbursed for lost earnings may face a trickier task.
In the event that you are a self-employed car accident victim with prior tax returns (1099’s), and there is a visible, trending pattern of income, the process of recouping lost wages will be more similar to a W-2 worker.
However, we may also need to look at alternative sources, such as profit/loss statements, receipts, Excel spreadsheet history, prior invoices, ongoing correspondence, etc., that will help to prove the lost and/or future earnings related to your recovery period.
Keep in mind, the insurance company may view any self-generated documents with a higher degree of scrutiny and see them as less trustworthy than an actual tax return.
The example below describes a scenario in which a self-employed accident victim tries to claim a loss of future earnings:
Mark is a self-employed patio installer. For the last 5 years, he has accrued a steady stream of income from client referrals and has kept detailed records and tax returns on his finances related to his patio installation business.
At the beginning of summer, he was hit by a drunk driver and sustained a broken leg that required a significant amount of time off work for healing and physical therapy. Unable to work, Mark wants to make a claim for the lost earning potential he now faces during the summer months.
Mark claims that this particular summer he was set to make exponentially more than prior years and was probably going to land a project worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Mark’s records and tax returns will help to ensure he is compensated for lost earning potential based on his prior years’ income, however, it is unlikely that he will be compensated at a higher level or for the “potentially” lucrative project unless he has official documentation that shows future and/or upcoming agreements between him and his client(s).
To help ensure our self-employed clients are fully compensated for lost income, compensation, and/or benefits, Boulton Law Group will work with you to gather the appropriate wage loss documentation for your claim.
Questions about lost wages after an accident?
For more than 20 years, attorney Matt Boulton has helped injured Hoosiers throughout Indiana with their accident claims, including the recovery of lost wages and future earnings.
Whether you are a traditional W-2 worker or self-employed, it is important that you discuss the lost wages portion of your claim with an experienced Indianapolis injury attorney. Insurance companies will not be looking out for your best interest, and they may overlook or ignore any potential lost earnings.
Boulton Law Group is sought after by accident victims for their track record of winning as well as their approach to client services. In fact, we aim to make sure each of our clients Get Treated Like Family.
Our Zero Fee Guarantee means it will never cost you to speak with attorney Boulton about your legal questions. To reach him directly, call 317-275-3680.
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We look forward to hearing your story and learning how we can help you!
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.