proving lost wages for a personal injury claim

If you are seriously injured in a car accident or other mishap in South Carolina, you may require extensive rehabilitation. This could leave you unable to work for weeks or even months. You may use up all of your paid sick leave and have a significant loss of income. All of this may cause you to experience financial stress due to circumstances beyond your control.

At Joye Law Firm, our attorneys understand the hardship and stress you are experiencing. We want to help, if possible. South Carolina law allows personal injury victims who are harmed by the negligence of others to pursue compensation for their accident-related losses, including lost wages. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you may seek compensation for your lost wages and other losses as part of a personal injury claim.

For more than 50 years, our experienced attorneys at Joye Law Firm have helped injury victims throughout South Carolina. We understand the disruptive emotional, physical, and financial impacts a severe injury can have on you and your family. Our highly regarded attorneys are dedicated to fighting for compensation to help our clients move forward with their lives.

For more information about your legal rights, contact us today to get started with your free initial consultation.

What Is Recoverable in A Lost Income Injury Case?

Through a personal injury claim, you may seek to recover compensation for any lost wages stemming from your injuries. Whether you work year-round, part-time, or full-time, you may have a right to seek compensation for lost wages if you can’t work because of someone else’s negligence.

You may be entitled to claim compensation for:

  • Lost income for the time you missed work while you received treatment for your injuries
  • Sick days or vacation time you were forced to use to recover or obtain treatment for your injuries
  • Projected future losses in your lifetime earning capacity

It is important to consult an experienced injury lawyer to understand your options and assist you in developing your claim.

How To Document Lost Wages in Personal Injury Cases

You will need documentation of your financial losses to support your claim. The types of evidence that may be submitted to an insurance company to prove income losses include:

  • Recent W-2s showing your earnings from previous tax years
  • Pay stubs from before and after your injuries
  • A wage verification form from your employer outlining your usual wages, the number of hours you typically work, and any days you missed work
  • Business tax returns or accounts receivable records, if you are self-employed or own your own business

If you are self-employed, you should keep a record of the weeks of work you have missed and the job opportunities you have had to decline because of your injuries.

How To Prove Future Lost Earnings in a Personal Injury Case

If you sustain a severe injury that takes a long time to heal or limits the type of work you can do, the injury can substantially affect the amount of money you can earn in the future. You may seek compensation for the reduction in your future earning capacity.

Compensation for future lost earnings is intended to reimburse injury victims for decreases in their ability to earn income.

The following types of evidence can help estimate a loss of earning capacity:

  • Medical records to demonstrate the long-term or permanent effects of the injury
  • Letters from employers and testimony from vocational experts to show how the injury will affect work capacity
  • Tax returns, pay stubs, and other wage documentation to determine how your wages have increased and would likely continue to increase over time

A personal injury attorney at Joye Law Firm can help you gather the documents needed to show the impact of your injuries on your present and future income. We will submit a demand package to the insurance company representing the at-fault party to seek full compensation for your lost wages.

Does Workers Compensation Pay for Lost Wages?workers injury claim form

If you sustained an injury at work, you may be eligible for wage replacement benefits through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Most employers in South Carolina are required to carry workers’ comp insurance to protect injured employees.

Workers’ compensation pays for medical treatment for work-related injuries and provides weekly checks to cover a portion of your lost income while you are unable to work.

How Much Does Workers Comp Pay for Lost Wages?

Generally speaking, an injured employee is entitled to receive wage replacement benefits equivalent to two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wages earned before sustaining the work-related injury. There are four types of lost wage benefits available under the workers’ comp system in South Carolina. They are:

  • Temporary total disability (TTD) – An injured worker who sustains a serious on-the-job injury may be unable to perform any work for a period of time. The worker may be entitled to TTD benefits that pay two-thirds of the injured employee’s weekly wages while the worker is out of work recovering from the injuries.
  • Temporary partial disability (TPD) – An injured worker may be cleared by the treating doctor to return to work in a limited capacity. If an injured employee takes a lower-paying, light-duty job, the worker may be eligible for Temporary Partial Disability benefits. TPD benefits pay up to two-thirds of the difference between weekly pre-and post-injury wages.
  • Permanent partial disability (PPD) – If you suffer a permanent partial disability as a result of a workplace accident, you may be assigned an impairment rating by the doctor when you have reached maximum medical improvement. You may be eligible for partial disability compensation based on your impairment rating.   
  • Permanent total disability (PTD) – In some instances, a doctor may conclude that a worker is permanently and completely disabled. The disabled employee may be entitled to receive PTD benefits. Typically, the amount of permanent disability benefits paid is limited to 500 weeks of benefits.

Injured employees who receive workers’ compensation are typically prohibited from filing a personal injury lawsuit against their own employer. However, if a third party such as another driver was at-fault for your work-related injury, then you may have grounds for a personal injury case in addition to your workers’ comp claim.

Contact Our South Carolina Injury Attorneys for Help with Your Case

When you have been seriously injured and have experienced a loss of income in South Carolina, turn to the attorneys at Joye Law Firm for guidance about your legal options. Whether you have a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim, Joye Law Firm has the experience and resources to help you. Our South Carolina injury lawyers will provide a free case evaluation and help you understand steps you can take to move forward. Contact us today.

About the Author

Ken Harrell joined Joye Law Firm in 1994, and has been the managing partner since 2006. With 30 years of experience, he protects the rights of injured South Carolinians, including cases involving workers’ compensation, car accidents, and defective products. Ken also leads the firm’s referral practice, helping to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation. He is a past president of South Carolina Injured Workers’ Advocates, and has served as the co-chairman of this organization’s legislative affairs committee for 12 years.

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