If you've missed work due to an accident that wasn't your fault, you should be compensated for that. But most victims aren't aware that the loss of a paycheck isn't the only thing to consider here, especially if you receive other bonuses from time to time. If you're working with an insurance adjuster, here's how to calculate all lost income in your injury settlement.
Breakdown of Lost Income
There are various ways that employees lose money when they aren't able to work due to their injuries.
Lost income. Also known as "wages," lost income is money that you would have received in the form of a paycheck had you not been injured. Most people are paid every two weeks or monthly, and they receive wages via a company check or by direct deposit.
Lost compensation. This could be anything above and beyond your normal paycheck. Think of them as the benefits you receive, your ability to earn, or the "perks" of the job. For instance, maybe you are allotted so many sick days per year, or perhaps your employer offers bonuses for attendance, meeting sales quota, etc.
Types of Lost Compensation
The perks received outside of a paycheck will vary from person to person. What follows is a list of what most average businesses offer their staff in the way of fringe benefits and how you can expect to be compensated for them:
Sick days—if you are allowed 10 sick days per year, and you had to use five of them recovering in the hospital or at home, you should be compensated for those five days.
Vacation—if you used up all your sick days, you might have to tap into vacation time while you recover. For every vacation day used, you should be compensated a full day's pay.
Holidays or other bonuses—some employers offer paid days off for birthdays, certain holidays, "mental health" days, or even bonus days for good performance. But they may stipulate that you have to be present the day before and after. If your employer didn't pay you for these days because of your absence due to the injuries, you have a right to be compensated by the defendant.
Various perks—does the company you work for provide a company car? Free access to a gym or resort? These various fringe benefits typically fall under the blanket of non-monetary perks of the job. If you've been injured in an accident and no longer have access to these perks, you're entitled to receive compensation for their monetary value.
Most insurance adjusters are not going to ask you for a breakdown of lost compensation. It's up to you to include it so they can lump those payments in with your lost income. But you'll need proof of these losses.
Proof of Lost Income
Unfortunately, you can't just send a list of all the ways you're losing money from being out of work. You'll need evidence of this loss. This is relatively simple and involves getting a few statements from your doctor and employer.
While you can submit medical records, the best thing to offer in the way of evidence is a letter from your doctor that details your injuries, what's required for your treatment, and how long your recovery is expected to last. Tell your physician you need a detailed medical narrative report for the best possible outcome.
Your boss can also help by writing or typing up a letter that states:
- the days you missed
- your hourly wage or salary at the time of the accident
- how many hours you normally work each pay period
- if you worked overtime before the accident
- possible promotions you were up for
- all sick and vacation days used while recovering
- all other perks and bonuses lost due to your absence from work
The letter should be written on company letterhead and additionally signed by a manager. If you ever have questions about your settlement, you should speak with a personal injury attorney through firms like Bangel, Bangel, & Bangel who can walk you through the process and advocate for you.