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What you must do to file a lost wages claim after an accident

There aren't many people in California – or throughout the United States, for that matter – who can afford to miss weeks of work. But that just might be the case if you are injured in a car accident.

You might be able to make a claim against the at-fault driver for lost wages to help you recover the paychecks you have lost. But what does that mean, exactly?

Lost wages is the term for the paychecks you didn't receive because you couldn't show up to work. To have a lost wages claim, you must have suffered the injuries in the accident and not in any previous event.

You also can consider "lost earning capacity" in your claim, which is money you could have earned from a bonus you were working toward, for example.

You will make your lost wages claim to the insurance company of the at-fault driver or in a lawsuit. You must be able to prove your claim and will need the following at a minimum:

  • A note from your medical provider that documents your injuries and the number of work days you needed to miss.
  • A letter from your employer stating how many work days you missed, how many hours that equaled and your pay rate.
  • Your paystubs that detail your earnings. If you are self-employed, your tax return from the previous year, contracts you had with clients for work in progress at the time of the accident and any correspondence with such clients can be submitted.

The preparation of your claim is vital to getting repaid for your lost wages, and you also will need to know the insurance coverage the other driver has for injuries. The insurance company also likely will ask you to submit to an independent medical examination to verify what you've included in your claim.

The claim process can be complex, and you don't want to walk away with less than what you're entitled. An experienced attorney can file your claim on your behalf.

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