Yes, you can win reimbursement for your lost wages after a car accident if you suffered an injury and the accident was not your fault. In California, you can still win compensation even if the accident was partly your fault. Your compensation could be substantial if your injuries left you with a long-term occupational disability.
Can I Sue The At-Fault Driver?
Yes, you can sue the at-fault driver for your losses, including:
You can also sue for any other losses, tangible or intangible, that you suffered as a direct result of the accident. In all likelihood, the opposing party against whom you will negotiate will be the insurance company, not the at-fault driver.
California’s Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements
California requires all motorists with vehicles registered in California to purchase at least the following amount of auto insurance:
- Bodily injury liability insurance: $15,000 per person, up to a total of $30,000 per accident.
- Property damage liability insurance: $5,000 for accidents.
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage: $15,000 per person, up to a total of $30,000 per accident.
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage: $3,500 per accident.
You can purchase more Insurance than these minimum amounts. Commercial truckers, for example, must carry much more insurance than the amounts stated above.
If the at-fault party is a motorist who purchased only the minimum amount of auto insurance, you might find the insurance policy limits prevent you from receiving full compensation for your lost wages. That’s when it might be in your best interest to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Can I Be Reimbursed For Paid Leave That I Used?
The insurance company should reimburse you for unpaid leave from work because of the direct link between unpaid leave and lost wages. What happens, though, if you use up all of your sick leave and your vacation time because of your injuries? After all, your employer will be paying you for this time off work. Should you still receive compensation for it?
Yes, because you’re depleting a scarce resource when you use your sick leave and vacation time. If the opposing party doesn’t compensate you for your paid leave, you might get sick for reasons unrelated to the accident later in the year.
Since you used up all your sick leave because of the accident, you must settle for unpaid leave that would have been paid if not for your accident. That is what justifies reimbursement for paid leave.
How Much Is Paid Leave Worth?
Typically your paid leave is worth precisely the amount you would have made if you had worked that day. If you average $150 per day, your paid leave is worth $150 per day.
Diminished Earning Capacity
Suppose you suffer a long-term injury and cannot return to your previous position. In a worst-case scenario, you might be unable to work altogether. Your lost wages could be immense. The younger you are, and the more money you made before the accident, the more compensation you are likely to qualify for. At that point, the question will be whether insurance policy limits will be high enough to pay you full compensation.
Workers’ Compensation and Independent Contractors in California
What if your accident was work-related? Compensating employees for work-related injuries is the purpose of workers’ compensation. Compensation for lost wages is part of the package. If you are an independent contractor, you are not considered an employee and are ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Independent contractors must file a personal injury lawsuit in order to collect damages. This lawsuit will require you to prove that your employer was at fault. Recent changes in workers’ compensation law make it much more difficult to classify a worker as an independent contractor, but these situations still do arise.
If you are a W-2 employee, you are also entitled to compensation for lost wages. You might find it more difficult to calculate and prove the amount of your lost wages, however.
A Lawyer Can Maximize Your Compensation
The odds are that an experienced personal injury lawyer can win you several times the compensation you would have won if you had attempted to handle your claim on your own.
That claim can include not only lost wages but also medical bills, pain and suffering, and any other compensation you may be entitled to. At the very least, schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer to see how they might be able to help.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.