Who Pays my Lost Wages after an Auto Accident?
If you missed time from work following an auto accident in Virginia and either weren’t paid at all or had to use some of your vacation, sick leave or other paid time off as a result of the crash, you may be entitled to compensation for thoses losses. But you might be in for a bit of a wait for the insurance company to properly compensate you.
Do I have a Lost Wages Claim?
Under Virginia law, you are entitled to make a claim for lost wages in a personal injury case if you missed time from work and either did not get paid at all or had to use up some of your leave time. However, insurance companies will sometimes make the argument that because you “did not actually lose any money” and were able to use your sick leave to set-off the time that you spent attending physical therapy, doctors visits or recovering at home, you are not entitled to any money.
Though Virginia law is very clear on this (you are entitled to recovery), if you find yourself fighting with the insurance adjuster over this part of your claim, you might need to get an attorney involved. Remember that insurance adjusters are skilled, highly trained negotiators. They are under no obligation to treat you fairly and they will sometiems misrepresent the law (or, they might not actually know what the law in Virginia is).
What Documents do I Need to Make a Wage Loss Claim?
This can be another sticking point for insurance companies. The fact of the matter is that all you really need in a Virginia courtroom in order to get compensated for lost wages is to tell the Judge how much time you missed from work and what your hourly pay rate is. However, this does not stop insurance companies from requiring all sorts of documentation before they’ll consider your lost wage claim. We’ve seen cases where the insurance company has requested all of the following from an accident victim:
- Doctors notes requiring leave,
- Supervisor’s note,
- Previous tax returns, and
- Time cards
The requirement that you overdocument your time off is not really a requirement at all. It’s a tactic by the insurance company to hold on to as much of their money as they can for as long as they can. During the five weeks it might take you to get all this documentation together, the insurance company is still earning interest on the money that you are entitled to.
Rarely do they require all of this documentation from a law firm that gets involved on the part of the injured victim. In some cases, where it’s not clear how many hours a week you worked regularly or what your regular rate of pay is, they might require more documentation than in other cases, but most of the time the insurance company is satisfied with paystubs showing that you used your sick leave. Just another example of insurance companies taking advantage of unrepresented people.