Recovering Lost Income After a Personal Injury in Missouri & Kansas
Accident victims sustain considerable damages because of the accident and their injuries. A significant economic damage in many cases is lost wages. The financial burden caused by an accident or injury can have long-term effects on the victim and the victim’s family. There are still ongoing costs for housing, food, and other monthly expenses, even though a person cannot work because of the injuries sustained in the accident.
The good news is that accident victims can recover compensation for lost wages and future earnings for personal injury claims related to car accidents, slip and fall injuries, and many other accidents and injuries in Missouri and Kansas. Our Kansas City personal injury lawyer works closely with clients to document lost income and benefits to recover reimbursement for these damages.
Types of Lost Income in a Kansas City Personal Injury Case
Lost income includes wages and salaries earned from employment. However, it may also include other forms of employment compensation lost because of an accident or injury.
Examples of damages for a lost income claim include:
- Wages and Salaries – You are entitled to compensation for your salary or hourly wages you would have earned had you been able to work.
- Overtime Compensation – If you regularly earn overtime pay, you may be entitled to compensation for overtime time. Seasonal overtime pay may also be included if your job requires overtime during a specific period each year. An example would be harvesters or tax professionals.
- Commissions and Bonuses – As with overtime pay, you might be entitled to compensation for commissions and bonuses if you would have earned those amounts had you worked. Generally, you would have needed to be in line for earning those amounts to include them in a personal injury claim.
- Paid Time Off (PTO) – Paid time off may include sick days, vacation days, and other PTO days. If you use your sick days and vacation days while recovering from the accident, you may receive reimbursement for those days. Likewise, if you miss earning these days because you are out of work or you miss holiday pay, birthday pay, and other personal days, you could receive compensation for those days.
- Raises and Promotions – Being out of work may result in the loss of raises and promotions. If your employer was considering you for a promotion or a raise, you might be able to recover compensation for these missed opportunities.
- Retirement Fund Contributions – While you are out of work recovering from your accident injuries, your retirement accounts may suffer. Suppose you regularly contribute to a retirement plan or pension plan. In that case, you may be entitled to compensation for your missed contributions and the matching contributions your employer would have deposited to the account.
- Perks and Benefits – There may be other items that could be included in your lost income claim. Allowances for cell phones, life insurance, transportation, profit-sharing plans, stock options, and health insurance plans may be considered lost income and benefits.
You may be entitled to compensation for lost income that you are not aware of when the insurance company approaches you to settle your claim. The insurance adjuster will not tell you if you are not receiving all of the compensation you deserve.
Before you accept a settlement offer for lost income, check with a Kansas City lost income claims attorney to ensure you receive compensation for all damages.
How to Prove Lost Income & Earnings After an Kansas City Accident
The insurance company will not compensate you for damages you cannot prove. Therefore, documenting your lost income and benefits is a crucial step in the personal injury claims process. However, the first step is to establish that you could not work because of your accident injuries.
A Doctor’s Detailed Explanation of Your Injuries
Documenting your injuries through medical records is essential. Your doctor can then provide a statement explaining the severity and extent of your injuries. Your doctor can verify why your injuries prevented you from working by submitting a detailed medical opinion.
A statement from your doctor needs to specifically relate why you could not work to your injuries. In some cases, a medical expert or specialist may need to provide a more detailed explanation of your injuries linking your injuries to your inability to perform your job duties.
If you could work but could not perform your complete job duties, the doctor needs to be very specific about what you could and could not do. It is also important for you to be clear on the restrictions from your doctor. If your physician said you could work light duty and you refused to do so, it could negatively impact your lost wages claim.
Proving the Value of Your Lost Income and Benefits
The second hurdle in recovering full compensation for loss of income and benefits after an accident is proving how much income and benefits were lost. Keeping a detailed log of all missed days from work is a great place to begin. Copies of previous tax returns and paystubs are also ways you can prove what you were earning before the accident.
However, a statement from your employer verifying your income and benefits is necessary to place a value on the claim. You need your employer to verify:
- Your base rate of pay (i.e., annual salary, commissions, and hourly wages)
- The number of hours or days worked in a regular pay period
- The number of days you were absent from work
- The overtime wages paid during the past few months or overtime earned during specific periods of the year
- A list of benefits and perks you are entitled to receive or you earn based on your work hours
If you were working on special projects, were in line for a promotion or pay raise, or you could have earned any other income or benefits had you been at work, that information needs to be included in the letter.
If you are self-employed, you must demonstrate how much money you would have earned had you not been injured in the accident. You will need copies of your:
- Tax returns for previous years
- Copies of Profit and Loss Statements for the past year
- Copies of your business documents
- Tax forms, such as 1099 forms and other proof of income
- Copies of bank statements and ledgers
If you have an accountant or bookkeeper, that person can be invaluable in gathering information and compiling reports that prove how much money you lost because of the accident.
Using Financial Experts to Prove Lost Future Earnings in Missouri & Kansas
It can be difficult to estimate the amount of money you would have earned in the future had it not been for your injury. Individuals who sustain a disability or permanent impairment can recover compensation for future loss of income and decreases in earning potential.
Economists and financial experts use several factors to estimate a future loss of income, such as:
- Earnings history
- Current age and expected retirement age
- Education, experience, and skills
- Industry trends
- Ability to learn a new skill or trade
- Extent and severity of injuries and permanent impairments
Our Kansas City accident attorneys work with various experts to ensure that we seek maximum compensation for future income damages.
Hire an Experienced Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyer
At the Law Office of Kevin J. McManus, our legal team works diligently to get you the highest value for your personal injury claim. Our Kansas City personal injury law firm handles cases throughout Missouri and Kansas. The sooner we begin working on your case, the quicker we can preserve critical evidence that proves fault and liability.
Schedule a free consultation with a Kansas City personal injury lawyer by calling 816-203-0143 or completing our online contact form.