A car wreck can cause life-changing, debilitating injuries, making it nearly impossible to continue working. Even minor injuries can leave you temporarily unable to work, leading to lost wages and difficulty keeping pace with the financial burden of your accident and the day-to-day living expenses.
Thankfully, as the victim of a car accident, you are usually entitled to receive monetary compensation for the costs of your lost wages. By filing a personal injury suit against the at-fault driver, you can hold them responsible for your damages, including lost income, medical bills, car repairs, and pain and suffering. Hiring a car accident attorney will help you recover your losses and is one of the best steps to advance your case.
What Qualifies as Lost Wages in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, lost wages refer to any economic loss you experienced as a result of not being able to attend work because of the injuries you sustained due to your car collision. Lost wages fall under the umbrella of compensatory damages, a term used to describe any economic or non-economic damages that occurred because of your accident.
More specifically, lost wages are a type of economic damage, which includes any form of damage with a financial value attached to it. Other types of economic damages include things like medical bills, car repair costs, or property damage. When you seek payment for economic damages, you are generally asking to recover the cost of your financial losses. Thus, lost wages are intended to cover the costs of missed work.
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How Much Can I Recover from Lost Wages?
To understand the amount of money you are entitled to receive compensation for, you must first calculate your lost wages. This can be done by multiplying the amount of money you earn per day, week, or month by the amount of time you’ve missed from work due to your injury.
For instance, if you make $20 per hour and usually work 40 hours per week, you will need to calculate how much money you would have been paid had you been able to work your regular schedule. So, if you missed 3 weeks’ worth of work, then you multiply $20 by 40 hours to calculate the value of one week of missed wages, which equals $800, and then you multiply that $800 by the total of 3 weeks of work you missed, giving you $2400 in lost wages.
Similarly, if you are paid an annual salary, you must calculate the amount you would have made in the 3 weeks of work you missed. If you make $52,000 a year, that would equate to making $1000 a week ($52,000/52 weeks per year). Multiply that $1000 by 3, giving you a total of $3000 worth of lost wages you would be missing.
Am I Eligible for Other Job Benefits I Lost Due to My Injury?
If you choose to use PTO or sick days while you recover from your injuries, it’s possible to receive compensation for it. Since you are essentially taking out PTO because your injuries have forced you to, it’s not considered voluntary, and thus, you are entitled to reimbursement.
This means the PTO you took out will be eligible for financial compensation (as opposed to repaying you with more PTO). The amount you are entitled to generally equates to the amount of money you would have been paid had you been able to work during the days you used your PTO.
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What Documents Do I Need to Prove My Lost Wages?
To establish that your lost wages occurred because of your automobile accident, you’ll need a few things to prove your case, including:
- Medical records or a doctor’s note which proves your injury interfered with your ability to work.
- Documents showing your lost wages are worth the amount you claim they are worth. This can be demonstrated through pay stubs, W2s, employer letters, and tax returns.
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Who is Responsible for Paying My Lost Wages?
In South Carolina, there are a few ways to recover your lost wages, depending on how you and your personal injury attorney choose to pursue reimbursement. Some of the options for compensation include:
- The at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Your insurance company
- The at-fault driver’s employer, if they were driving because of their job when the accident happened
- Your employer’s insurance company, if you were on the job when your accident happened
- Any other negligent parties involved in the car wreck
South Carolina’s Statute of Limitations on Lost Wages
Understanding your state’s statute of limitations is critical information to know when filing your claim. A statute of limitations is a set time frame in which you must file your injury claim.
For South Carolina, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years. If you do not act within this time limit, your case will be thrown out, so it’s of the utmost importance to ensure you file your claim on time.
For what little good news is to be had following a car accident, it is hopeful to know that most victims are entitled to receive compensation for their lost wages. The amount you receive will depend on several factors, including your ability to provide proof that your injury left you unable to work for a period of time, documents showing the amount of work wages you would have made if it weren’t for your injury, and how much time you missed from work due to your injury.
If you’re having difficulty recovering lost work wages and other damages you feel you are owed, the best thing you can do for your claim is to consult with an experienced lawyer, like the team here at Hammack Law Firm. One of our skilled personal injury attorneys in South Carolina will fight for your right to compensation after your automobile accident. Don’t hesitate to receive the full benefits you’re entitled to for your hardships. Contact Hammack Law Firm today for a free consultation.