How to recover lost wages after a car accident in Indiana

Injured woman from car accident on crutches

To recover lost income after a car accident, you’ll need to prove that someone else caused the accident and that your resulting injuries prevented you from working. You’ll likely need evidence like witness testimony, doctor’s notes, pay slips, and correspondence with your HR department. 

Determining which documents to assemble and how to present them convincingly can be overwhelming, especially when you are recovering from an injury. Fortunately, you do not have to do it alone. Instead, an experienced Indiana car accident attorney can take care of these complex tasks so that you can focus on healing.

What All Is Included in Lost Income Compensation?

Compensation after a car accident aims to make the injured person whole again financially, as if the accident never happened. It includes any wages, salaries, tips, commissions, bonuses, or other income from employment that they lost due to the accident and injuries. This can include:

  • Income lost from missing work for medical appointments, therapy, procedures, recovery time, etc.
  • Income lost from being unable to work while recovering from injuries
  • Future income lost due to permanent disability or reduced earning capacity

This compensation may also cover employment benefits the injured person lost access to due to missing work, such as health insurance, retirement contributions, and vacation or sick pay accrual. Compensation can also include any business income a self-employed person loses due to their injuries.

What Do I Need to Prove My Lost Wages?

Proving the extent of your lost income often requires documentation such as:

  • Pay stubs showing income before the accident
  • Pay stubs or documentation of missed hours or income after the accident
  • Documentation of medical appointments and treatment that required missing work
  • Letters from employers confirming missed work and income
  • Business documentation such as invoices, tax returns, and financial statements

Having an experienced attorney present and explain this evidence is critical. They will work with experts like accountants and economists to calculate past and future income losses. Your attorney will also negotiate aggressively for fair compensation and build the most persuasive arguments possible if a lawsuit is necessary.

What If I Am Self-Employed?

Recovering lost income can feel particularly daunting for those who are self-employed. Their income might not be as predictable, and they do not have traditional paystubs to prove how much they make. This situation can lead to a great deal of frustration.

However, self-employed workers are just as entitled to compensation for lost income as those who work for an employer. An accident can cause self-employed individuals to miss out on professional opportunities, which can be both financially disastrous and emotionally devastating.

If you are self-employed, a skilled car accident attorney can use your tax documents, invoices, and agreements for current and future work to calculate the total value of your losses.

What If My Income Is Commission- or Tip-Based?

Many workers in Indiana rely on tips or commissions rather than hourly wages or annual salaries. Because they can depend on factors such as seasonal holidays, proving lost income from tips and commissions can present unique challenges. However, it is not impossible.

One option is to show bank statements from the same pay period in the previous year. For example, if you are a bartender, your injuries may have caused you to lose tips from the weekend of the Indy 500. In that case, you can show how much money you made during the same weekend last year to estimate how much you have lost.

Alternatively, you may be a salesperson who makes a significant amount from commissions. Previous W-2 forms can give the insurance company or the court an idea of how much money you would have made during the pay periods you missed due to your injuries.

You can also collect evidence from similarly compensated co-workers to compare how much they made on average during the time period you were out.

A man suffers from a soft tissue injury after a car accident in Indiana.

Can I Be Repaid for Paid Time Off I Had to Use to Recover from the Accident?

You can claim compensation for any paid sick leave, vacation time, or PTO you had to use for your accident injuries or recovery. Keep careful records of any leave you take related to the accident. Get documentation from your employer confirming the leave dates and the value of that paid time off.

Reimbursement for lost PTO recognizes that you had to waste those hard-earned hours when you otherwise would have used them to take a vacation or a personal day. You deserve repayment for all benefits affected by the accident.

What Other Compensation May I Be Owed After a Car Accident?

In addition to compensation for lost income, you may also be eligible to recover money for your:

  • Medical expenses, such as emergency treatment, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, surgical procedures, assistive devices, and medications
  • Reduced earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from returning to work or require you to take a lower-paying job
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering

While each case is unique, a knowledgeable Indiana car accident attorney can assess the various factors of your situation to determine how much you can reasonably expect to recover.

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim in Indiana?

The statute of limitations in Indiana gives you two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against anyone at fault. There are practical reasons to act as soon as possible, though – especially since you will likely lose your right to compensation once the deadline expires. Working with an experienced Indiana car accident attorney can help you file your claim promptly so you do not miss the opportunity to recover the compensation you deserve.

Contact an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer

Losing income due to a car accident injury can often feel like salt in a wound. You’re already dealing with painful, expensive injuries, and now you’re not sure how you will pay for them. But if another party has caused you this financial and emotional stress, you should not have to shoulder the burden yourself. The experienced legal team at Truitt Law Offices understands how challenging this time feels. We are ready to fight for your rights and your future. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.

Contact Our Indiana Car Accident Law Offices

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About the Author

Phil Truitt joined Truitt Law Offices in 2018 after he earned his J.D. from Ohio Northern University Ohio Northern Pettit College of Law. However, his association with the law firm dates all the way back to childhood. His father, Richard, established the firm over 40 years ago. Growing up, Phil…