The person injured as a result of another’s negligence, must prove every element of their personal injury case by a preponderance of the evidence, including lost wages and earnings. Part of the damages a plaintiff can claim involves the loss of income resulting from having been in the accident.
First, it’s important to see a medical doctor, chiropractor or other qualified health care provider and, if you can’t work because of your injuries, have him or her note the nature and duration of your disability. If you can’t work but you don’t see a doctor, the other driver’s insurance company and, later, a judge, jury or arbitrator may question whether you were really too injured to work.
Second, you need to document the amount of earnings you lost. If you are employed by a company or individual that keeps formal payroll records it should be a simple matter of requesting the records that show when you were off work and how many dollars you lost. You might also ask your employer, human resources manager or payroll supervisor for a letter outlining you earnings history, the dates you were off work and the amounts you lost.
It can be a little more complicated if you work for yourself. You will need to gather any records you have that demonstrate your earnings history and the periods during which you could not work. Examples of these might be profit and loss statements, job calendars, job invoices, copies of payment (to you) checks or even letters from clients. If you run your own business you might need to produce records that demonstrate your business’s expenses (payroll, rent, etc.) continued but the company lost income because you weren’t able to perform your functions.
Personal and business tax returns are generally privileged, meaning no one can compel you to produce them, but you might consider using relevant portions anyway as a way of demonstrating how your personal or business income decreased after the accident. This will probably be a strategy decision you will want to discuss with a lawyer.
For more information on personal injury law visit GotTrouble.com