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How to Document Your Work Losses if You’ve Been Out with an Injury
Missing work due to a personal injury can add stress to an already difficult situation, by reducing your income at a time when medical bills are piling up. To ensure that you are properly compensated for your work losses in a legal judgment or settlement, you will need to document the amount of the compensation you have been deprived of due to missed work time.
Your professional work losses don’t just include the amount of your lost income—the amount of salary or hourly pay you didn’t receive because you were out with an injury. In addition, your compensation includes the additional financial benefits of your job. For example, if you used sick or vacation days while you were out with your injury, you are entitled to reimbursement for those days, which you would have used for their intended purpose had you not been injured. If your job includes performance bonuses, and you missed out on being eligible for one due to your injury, that loss may be eligible for compensation as well. If you missed paid holidays or other perks that you would have received, the value of those may also be included.
Documentation should include two major components: verification from your doctor regarding your injury and the required amount of time off of work, and verification from your employer regarding your work income. A detailed doctor’s narrative should include your diagnosis, your prospects for recovery, the amount of time you need to recover before you return to work, and information on any ongoing restrictions to your work activity, if any, once you’ve returned to work. The more specific the information your doctor can provide, the better.
To document your work income, include any forms you have such as W2s and pay stubs to verify your income before your injury. You’ll also want a letter from your employer that verifies not only the days you missed from your job (whether or not you used sick/vacation days or had to take them unpaid), but also your salary or hourly pay at the time. If you were in line for a bonus that you then missed out on, regularly worked overtime, or missed paid holidays or other perks, ask your employer to verify this information in their letter. Again, the more detailed the information you supply, the less likely you will be to lose out on an area of compensation you are entitled to.
According to the Southern California personal injury lawyers at Hodes Milman & Liebeck LLP, you are still entitled to compensation for your professional losses when you are self-employed, although documenting them may be more complex. If your business is relatively stable from year to year, past tax returns and your current financial statement can help you calculate the income you lost out on from your inability to work. However, if your business is complex, tends to fluctuate from month to month, was growing, or you lost a large amount of money, you may want to hire an accountant to help you gather proof of your losses.
If you’ve experienced professional work losses as the result of a personal injury, getting an experienced attorneys on your side can help you determine the right course of action to obtain just compensation. Do your research and seek legal counsel that knows their way around these types of cases.