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Can I Be Reimbursed for Lost Wages After a Car Accident in New York City?

Posted in Car Accidents on October 28, 2022

Can I Be Reimbursed for Lost Wages After a Car Accident in New York City?

Yes, you can be reimbursed for any lost wages you suffer as a result of a car accident in New York City, as long as someone else was at fault. Depending on the circumstances, however, you may have to fight for your compensation. If you prefer, a seasoned personal injury lawyer can do the fighting for you.

The Four Components of a Lost Wages Claim

The following are the components of a lost wages claim:

  • Wages you lost while you were hospitalized;
  • Wages you lost while you were recovering at home;
  • Wages you lost because you needed to take off work for medical treatment (a doctor’s appointment, for example); and
  • Reimbursement for vacation time and sick leave that you used because of your injury.

Calculating a lost wages claim is sometimes straightforward and sometimes complex.

Calculating Lost Wages If You are Self-Employed

This is one circumstance where it can be more complex to calculate your lost wages claim. If you are self-employed, one way to calculate your lost wages is to add up your total income for the past year, divide the result by 365, and multiply that figure by the number of work days you lost because of your injury.

Limitations on Recovery

There are several possible circumstantial limitations on a lost wages claim. Two of the most prominent appear below.

Comparative Fault

The accident might have been partly your fault. If so, a court will assign you a percentage of fault (40%, for example). The court would then subtract that exact percentage from your compensation, including lost wages and other components of your compensation. If your damages were $100,000, for example, a court would subtract $40,000, leaving you with $60,000. The court would also make you pay 40% of the defendant’s damages.

Most car accident claims end at the bargaining table, not in court. Nevertheless, the opposing party isn’t likely to pay you much more than they believe you can win in court. The extent to which you were to blame for the accident represents negotiating leverage that the opposing party can use against you.

Uninsured Motorists

Although less than 5% of New York drivers lack mandatory auto insurance, one of the lowest rates in the nation, you might find yourself unlucky enough to have suffered an injury caused by an uninsured motorist. You might be able to cover this with uninsured motorist insurance, which is optional in New York.

How Do You Prove Lost Earnings?

You can use the following evidence to prove your lost wages:

  • Employment records;
  • Testimony from a representative of your employer;
  • Your income tax returns;
  • Invoices;
  • Banking records proving the payments you received; and
  • Emails and other documentation proving the number of assignments your injuries forced you to cancel.

Some of these items apply to employees, while others apply to freelancers and other self-employed workers.

Diminished Earning Capacity Claims for Long-Term Injuries

Diminished earning capacity is a consequence of a catastrophic injury. Suppose, for example, that you suffer a car accident at 25 years old and are never able to work again. That’s up to 40 years of future lost earnings. How do you calculate that amount? It needs to be accurate because if you run out of money at 45 years old, you won’t be able to return to court or the bargaining table and ask for more money.

If you need to claim future lost wages, you will probably need an expert witness. The witness will probably examine your case, calculate your lost wages, prepare a written report, and testify in your favor.

Workers’ Compensation

The workers’ compensation system applies special rules to lose wage claims. In New York, you can usually receive two-thirds of your pre-accident wages, with a minimum of $150 per week and a maximum of $1,125 per week.

Wrongful Death

If one person dies in an accident caused by someone else’s misconduct, the personal representative of the deceased victim’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Although “lost wages” per se are not included in damages, you can claim reimbursement for similar items, such as the value of the financial support the deceased victim would otherwise have provided their family.

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Straighten Things Out for You

The best move you can make after a New York car accident is to schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer. The consultation will probably be free of charge, and the representation will also be free unless you win your claim.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the New York City car accident lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #1605
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600

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