How to Recover Lost Income After a Car Accident in New Jersey
Posted on: March 22, 2023
A car accident can turn your life upside down, especially if you suffer injuries that prevent you from working. In New Jersey, when a reckless driver injures you in a car accident, you may be entitled to file a claim for lost wages.
New Jersey labor laws define wages as the direct monetary compensation you receive for labor or services you perform for your employer. Generally, most current hourly or salary wages are fairly straightforward to calculate for most workers. Loss of wages is defined as income you are not receiving due to injuries preventing you from performing your job. In addition to current wages, other types of lost wages include:
- Reduced earning capacity: If your injuries are significant enough to prevent you from working in the same capacity, you may be eligible for compensation if your new position pays less. If your injuries prevent you from working permanently, future earning capacity may be included.
- Employment benefits: If you can longer work and you received benefits through your employment, such as health insurance, you may no longer qualify for the benefits. You can seek compensation for the value lost.
- Retirement or pension: If you receive retirement or pension benefits through your employment and can no longer work, you may lose them and be eligible for compensation for the reduced value.
- Paid time off: You are entitled to compensation for earned paid time off, such as sick leave, vacation, and personal time off. Had you not been injured you would not have used these benefits.
- Self-employed income: Lost self-employment can be difficult to define and prove, though your time away from your work should demonstrate the severity of your injuries. If your self-employment was steady income prior to the accident, you can use the previous year’s tax return to establish loss of income. Self-employment loss of wages may also include economic damages to the business, such as lost business opportunities and costs of replacement labor.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may or may not qualify for compensation of all types of lost wages, but rather a calculation of days missed and per-day wages lost. You may also receive compensation for time off for follow-up medical care for the injuries. A longer recovery period is more complex.
How Can You Prove Lost Income From a Car Accident?
Proving wage loss requires providing documents to show your employment, salary, and typical work schedule. Additionally, you would want letters from your employer confirming your time off and the treating physician detailing the nature of your injuries and their effect on your ability to work. Other documents to prove lost wages include:
- Pay stubs.
- W-2 forms.
- Tax returns.
- Verification letters.
- Bank statements.
- 1099 forms.
- Medical records and bills.
- Medical expert opinion.
- Financial expert opinion.
- Vocational expert opinion.
- Eyewitness testimony.
- Other applicable forms of evidence.
Job counselors may also be consulted to compare the field standard of the work you were doing prior to the accident and that your inability to work with the injury you suffered is reasonable.
The medical documentation is critical to proving income loss. In addition to injuries, it must also demonstrate bed rest, follow-up treatments, rehabilitative care, and other prescribed medical instructions and evidence you followed through on your treatment plan.
Filing a Claim for Wage Loss from a Car Accident
To receive compensation for your lost wages after injury, you or your attorney will need to file an official damages claim. Initially, you file a claim with your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance company. New Jersey is a no-fault state requiring drivers to carry mandated minimum insurance. Following a car accident, you would likely file with your own company, no matter who is at fault for the accident.
If your damages exceed the limit of your own policy, you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s car insurance coverage. In the case of severe injury, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the other driver. New Jersey’s statute of limitations on filing a claim is two years from the accident date, and you should consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Insurance companies do not want to pay and will likely offer a lowball settlement. Working with an attorney can help you obtain the best possible outcome.
New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers at Ellis Law Fight for Lost Wage Compensation for Injured Clients
If you have suffered loss of wages due to injuries from an accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. Our experienced New Jersey car accident lawyers at Ellis Law can help. Call us at 732-308-0200 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients in Asbury Park, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Long Branch, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, Monmouth County, Marlboro, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York City.