Lost Wages: What Does It All Mean?

Do I have a claim for the wages I lost when I could not work after a car accident?

If you were injured in a car accident as a result of the fault of the other driver, you may have a claim for the wages you lost while you were unable to work.  In North Carolina, if you are injured in an automobile accident because of the negligence of the other driver, you may have a cause of action for the damages you suffered as a result of the other driver’s improper actions.  These damages include compensation for the medical bills you incurred as a result of the medical treatment you received for your injuries, the pain and suffering you had to endure due to your injuries, and the wages you did not receive or lost because you were unable to work due to your injuries. (Click here for one of our previous blog posts for information regarding negligence & damages)

How do I prove that at I was unable to work due to the injuries I received as a result of the car accident?

In order to prove that you missed work due to the injuries you received from the automobile accident, you need to have Out of Work notes.  These Out of Work notes, or OOW notes, are given to you by a medical care provider who treated you for your injuries.  For example, an emergency room doctor or nurse, a primary care physician, a chiropractor, or a physical therapist who treated you for your injuries can write you an OOW note for every day you missed work. You may have more than one OOW note if you were treated by more than one medical care provider. Your OOW notes should be written on the business stationery or medical form of the medical care provider and contain the following:

    • the fact that you were treated by that medical care provider for your injuries;
    • the statement that you cannot work because of your injuries;
    • the dates you received treatment  & cannot work; and
    • the projected date you may return to work.

These OOW notes are an important factor in any lost wage claim; only a medical care provider who has treated you for accident related injuries may give you a work excuse.

How do I prove the amount of wages I lost due to the injuries I received as a result of the car accident?

You will also need to provide a statement from your employer on that employer’s business stationery, preferably with business letterhead, that you did indeed miss work and include the following:

    • the days you missed work;
    •  the hours you were scheduled to work those days;
    • The amount of money you would have earned on the days you missed work had you been able to work;
    •  your job position; and
    •  your supervisors name and job title, including the address and phone number for your supervisor.

In the alternative, Campbell and Associates have developed a Wage and Salary Verification Form which sets for the required information to make it easier for your employer to fill out.

If I am self- employed, how do I prove the amount of wages I lost due to the injuries I received as a result of the car accident?

If you are your own boss, or otherwise self –employed, it is more difficult to prove the amount of your lost wages.  You would need to provide the following information:

    • Your tax returns for the prior 3 to 5 years showing that you made a profit in your business;
    • Contracts or invoices showing that you had work scheduled during the days you missed work due to your injuries and the amount of money you would have received for the completed job.  These documents should be on your business letterhead, signed by your customer, and include your customer’s address and telephone number; and
    • Any letters or other testimonials from your clients that state they would have hired you for X amount of money, but could not so because you were too injured to work.

How do I make a claim for the wages I lost when I could not work after a car accident?

As you read above, you need specific information to support any lost wage claim and such claims can be confusing and difficult.  We are available at Campbell and Associates to help you navigate any lost wage claim as part of your personal injury action and welcome the opportunity to meet with you for a free consultation. Call today 704-333-0885!

Written by: Lisa Crotty, Associate Attorney, Campbell & Associates, Attorneys at Law