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Recovering Lost Wages
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THE FINE PRINT: The information provided on this website is opinion and general legal information about the laws in North Carolina. It is not intended to provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

In North Carolina, when you are injured in a wreck that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages or lost earning capacity. To recover for lost wages, you have to provide the insurance company with proof that your lost wages are the result of the accident. The easiest way to prove this generally is by providing the insurance company with a work excuse from your doctor showing the days that you were supposed to be out of work for wreck-related health reasons, and providing a statement from your employer as to how much money you would have made during that period. If you regularly worked overtime, don’t forget to include that as well.

If you are an hourly employee, this is fairly easy to do. However, if you’re on a salary, it can require a little more effort. If you are on a salary, one of the easiest methods to calculate fair compensation is to divide your salary by the number of days a week that you actually work to get your average daily wage. Likewise, you can divide your salary by the number of hours you usually work to get your hourly rate. Then, you provide proof of your lost hours from your employer along with a doctor’s excuse to the insurance company.

If you use sick leave or vacation time for the time that you are out of work on account of the wreck, you do not lose money, but you lose your sick leave or vacation time. When that happens, you’re entitled to be compensated for your sick leave or vacation time at your normal rate of pay.

If you’re self-employed, you can use your business revenues for the year before the wreck and average those out to find a daily or hourly amount for compensation. If your work is seasonal and you are out of work during your busy season, then, you may need to show the insurance company your records from previous years to substantiate your claim.

Also, if you were not employed at the time of the wreck, but were attempting to return to work, you may be entitled to compensation for lost earning capacity. Likewise, if you had just started a new business but did not have any earnings history for that business, you might still be entitled to lost earning capacity. Both of these situations can be difficult to prove. If you are in either these situations, you should contact an attorney to discuss the possibility of recovering for lost earning capacity.

If you are not able to go back to the work because of the wreck, or you do not earn as much, you may also be entitled to claim future lost wages. Please see the next video on future lost wages. And, please consider calling me to discuss the value of your case. The consultation will be free, and you will not be under obligation to hire me.

To sum up, in North Carolina, you may be entitled to recover for lost wages or lost earning capacity if you have been injured in a wreck that was not your fault. If you work on an hourly basis, the easiest way to prove your lost wages is by providing a doctor’s excuse and a note from your employer stating your wages. If you are salaried, you can divide your wages by the number of days or number of hours you work in order to come out with a fair rate for your lost time at work. Additionally, if you have to use vacation time or sick leave, you’re entitled to recover for that at your normal wage rate. If you have a claim for future lost wages, please do not attempt to settle your claim until you talk to a lawyer.

Joe Adams is a personal injury attorney based in Asheville, North Carolina, who takes personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout the state of North Carolina. He has been fighting insurance companies and big corporations for more than 25 years.

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For the fastest response call 828-251-1821 between 8 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday.

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Copyright © Joe G. Adams 2015. All Rights Reserved.
Joe Adams Law, 107 Merrimon Avenue, Ste B, Asheville, North Carolina 28801
828-251-1821