Lost wages can be a significant part of any personal injury claim. If you have suffered a serious and debilitating injury, you will miss some time at work. The more serious and more debilitating your injury, the more time you are likely to be away from work. There are many factors that may contribute to your lost wages. These include days you were in the hospital, time going to doctor visits, and hours driving to and from your medical appointments, physical therapy sessions, pharmacies, and any other reason that you were kept away from work or unable to work as a result of the accident. Therefore, it is imperative to keep detailed and accurate notes of all time you have been kept away from work.
Even if you receive sick pay or vacation pay, you are still entitled to recover lost wages since were it not for your injury you would have been able to cash in your sick pay or vacation pay or could have kept them and use them another day, for example, for a planned vacation. The same rule applies to disability benefits. If you receive disability benefits for missing work, you are still entitled to recover the lost earnings. Insurance adjusters are notorious for attempting to dissuade you from recovering these items of damages. They may erroneously claim that you are not entitled to them, or they may flat out tell you that they are refusing to pay you. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to use California law to force the other party and its insurance company to pay by illustrating to the adjuster exactly how you will prevail if the matter were to go to trial.
The importance of keeping detailed notes will become evident when it comes time to submit your claim demand, or at the time of trial before a jury. You and your personal injury attorneys will need to accurately calculate all of your lost wages in order to request payment thereof. We at Injury Law Group recommend that all of our clients keep a daily journal that details, among other things, all time away from work due to obtaining treatment for your injuries resulting from an accident.
If you were taken to a hospital either by ambulance or by a friend or family member, your hospital stay may last from hours to days, or longer. During this time, clearly you will not be attending your work. If the accident was caused by someone else (it was not your fault), you are entitled to recover, as a form of monetary damages, all of the wages that you lost as a result of not being able to go to work. This is true even if you have paid sick time or vacation time. That is, even if you are paid for the time that you were in the hospital and not at work, you are still entitled to recovery the lost wages form the person who caused the accident that resulted in your injuries.
Going to doctor appointments often takes a half a day or longer. You must account for the travel time to the doctor’s office. Usually, once you arrive, you will be asked to fill out a form and wait to be called. The doctor may be busy seeing other patients and you may have to wait for 1/2 hour to one hour. Then you meet with your physician. Typically, your doctor will write you some type of a prescription and a nurse will meet with you to go over it. After that, it’s off to the pharmacy to fill your prescription. Then you get back on the road and head to work. This can easily take 1/2 day or longer. Be sure to keep detailed notes, preferably in the form of a daily journal, listing all of the time you have missed from work, including all travel time and doctor appointment time. As an accident victim, you are entitled to recover financial damages for all of the lost wages and this is true even if your employer is already paying you for your time off.
Similar to doctor appointments, physical therapy sessions can easily take up 1/2 day of your time, which may translate into 1/2 day away from work for each session. Since physical therapy sessions are usually scheduled much more frequently than doctor visits (sessions are usually 2-3 times per week), lost wages can really add up if your doctor has prescribed physical therapy as part of your medical treatment and recovery plan. Just as with your doctor visits, you are entitled to recover monetary damages paying you for all wages that you have lost while going to physical therapy treatments. As with doctor visits, you are entitled to recover from the negligence person who caused the accident all lost wages even if your employer is paying you for the time you were away from work.