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Can I Be Reimbursed for Lost Wages After a Car Accident?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Being injured in an accident can be very stressful. In California, when you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may have a right to file a claim against the person who caused the accident. Your claim can include your lost wages, amongst other damages. Our California car accident attorney can review your case and help you determine your rights and options.  

What Are Lost Wages?

Lost wages and your lost earning capacity as a result of being injured are one part of the damages you may be able to recover. They fall under the category of compensatory damages. However, California law requires injured parties to prove the amount of their lost wages. In some circumstances, a jury may also award you interest on lost wages.

Lost wages include all of the following:

  • Wages or salary from your job, including overtime
  • Bonuses, commissions, tips, promotions, and periodic raises
  • Paid vacation days, sick days, personal days, and similar benefits
  • The value of other job-related benefits you no longer have access to: retirement contributions, reimbursement for transportation expenses, per-diem allowance, and more
  • Verifiable self-employment income 
  • The financial value of other job-related benefits (e.g., car allowance, per diem expenses, etc.),

In addition to lost wages, you may be able to recover for future loss of income or earning capacity. This term refers to anticipated or future income a person will lose out on because of their injuries. This loss can span the duration of however long it takes you to recover from your injuries. If you are permanently injured and unable to work in the same position, this period is potentially indefinitely. 

A personal injury attorney can help you calculate the demand for these losses as part of your overall claim. The help of a skilled attorney is essential because calculating lost earning capacity involves a certain amount of uncertainty and professional inference.

How Do You Recover Lost Wages?

However, to recover for past or future lost wages, you need to prove the other driver was at fault for an accident because California is an “at-fault” liability state. As part of the “at-fault” system, you should be aware that any contribution you may have made to causing the accident is also considered. This consideration is called comparative negligence

Having the assistance of an experienced attorney is very important, as proving fault is easier said than done. With good representation, you can avoid ending up in a situation where you do not recover everything you may be entitled to. Insurance companies regularly try to reduce a person’s recovery by their supposed degree of responsibility, often based on incorrect information or determinations. 

Consult With an Attorney

The law surrounding recovering lost wages and earning capacity is complicated. If you have been injured, you should consult with an attorney with experience handling personal injury matters. Time is limited to bring a personal injury claim in California. You usually have two years, with certain exceptions. Our attorney understands the importance of promptly addressing your claim. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.