Does the Insurance Company have to Pay For My Lost Wages After an Accident?

Picture this - you were in an accident and have done everything that you’re supposed to do. You called the insurance company, got your car fixed, and saw a doctor for your injuries. Now you’re faced with issues that you hadn’t thought about - do you go to work? It’s not uncommon for people to miss work while they recover from their injuries. In fact, your doctor may have specifically ordered you to stay home to allow your body a chance to recover and avoid further injury. So, the question is, what happens if you miss working? Are you going to recover that money?

The good news is that if you miss work due to your injuries and time spent receiving the treatment needed to recover after an accident, then the other person’s insurance company is supposed to make sure you’re taken care of. They’re obligated to put you back in the condition you were in before the crash. Technically, this includes the lost time from work, the hours of work you missed to go to doctor’s appointments, as well as any and all hardships you faced because of the pain you experienced during work because of your injuries. Although that’s the law, it is increasingly difficult for injured parties to recover the full amount of their lost wages without the help of an attorney.

Although you are entitled to compensation, insurance companies will do anything they can to minimize your loss. While it may not seem important in the days following a car wreck, gathering the necessary documentation to support your claim for lost wages can make a significant difference between a successful claim and miss out on that money indefinitely.

Get Ahead of the Problem!

Although insurance companies will do everything in their power to shirk their responsibilities, there are ways that you can protect yourself and support your claim from the beginning. It’s important to take initiative from the start. As soon as you know that you’ll be missing time from work, keep track of everything. When it comes to proving your lost wages, there’s no such thing as too much information.

Do whatever works best for you. The key is consistency. Some choose to keep a notepad on your kitchen counter to jot down the dates, times, and reasons for missing work. Others prefer to create a log on their phone to track the information. Just make sure to stay consistent! In addition to notating the date and time missed from work, you need to jot down the reason why you missed work. Was it because your injuries prevented you from sitting at your desk? Because you had to go to the doctor? Because your medication is so strong that you can barely keep your eyes open let alone do your job? If you think something isn’t relevant, put it down anyway. If a doctor told you to miss time from work, make sure you keep track of what doctor gave you those instructions, the date that he told you, and ask for work release notes during your appointments.

One thing that you’ll especially want to track is your symptoms before and after your appointments. Be sure to communicate this with your doctor but track it on your own as well. This way, when the insurance adjuster tries to argue that your treatment wasn’t necessary or that you didn’t need to miss work because your pain was gone, we can refer directly back to your records.

When it Comes to Proving Lost Wages - the More, the Better!

Insurance companies will try anything to prove that you chose to miss work for any reason other than the accident. First, they might argue that your injuries weren’t bad enough for you to seek treatment. Then, they might suggest that you didn’t miss that time from work. Finally, they might suggest that you don’t make the wages you’re claiming to make. So how do we beat them? By getting in front of their arguments every step of the way.

Try these easy tips to make your lost wage claim strong:

  1. Document all the time you missed work because of your injuries. Whether a doctor specifically told you to take some time off or because you had to go to the doctor instead of working through lunch.
  2. Track why the lost work was necessary- were you in too much pain? Did the doctor tell you to stay home? Which doctor told you? Were you going to an appointment? What was the appointment for?
  3. Also, track the lost wages that you wouldn’t normally consider. Did you have to work through your lunch to catch up? Or did you miss out on a vacation that you scheduled because your injuries prevented you from going? These are both forms of lost wages, even if it wasn’t specifically hours missed on the job.
  4. Let your manager and/or HR department know about what’s going on. Tell them that you may need them to sign off on your lost wage report later on. Let them see your log of the time that you missed and why.
  5. Start collecting documentation to prove what you earn. This can be pay stubs from the previous few weeks or prior tax documents.

We spent years fighting with insurance companies on behalf of injured parties. We know their arguments and how to defeat them. Let our attorneys help craft your arguments from the start of your case so that you can maximize your savings and get the money that you deserve. If you have questions, call McKinney Vos PLLC today.