If you’ve been injured in an auto accident due to the negligence
of another driver, and your injuries prevent you from
working or reduce your ability to work, you have a right
to recover lost wages. Generally, to recover for lost wages, one of two things must occur: An
injury must be the direct result of the accident, or a pre-existing injury was made worse by the
To prove lost wages, produce the pay stub from your most recent paycheck prior to your
injury. Tips and non-salary benefits should be included as well. If you are self-employed, you
will need to submit proof of what you would have earned. Keeping detailed, organized records
pays off in these circumstances.
If a motor vehicle accident results in a long-lasting or permanent injury—including chronic pain
or fatigue—that will affect your ability to earn a paycheck, you may have grounds to recover for
“lost earning capacity.” In some situations, you can claim this even if you can work—for instance, if
the injury reroutes you to a lower-paying job.
Proving lost earning capacity can be tricky, as it involves some speculation about the future. At trial, a
financial expert will likely be necessary to crunch the numbers. Your character traits, work habits, education,
and intention to change careers may also be considered. After that, it’s in the hands of a jury, which has
the leeway to determine the final amount you are awarded.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, contact an auto accident attorney to protect your rights.