Can I Be Compensated for Lost Earnings?

If you’ve been in a car accident that has affected your job performance or attendance, you may be able receive compensation for your lost earnings.

lost earnings

The goal of an insurance claim or a lawsuit is to put an accident victim in the same position in which he or she would have been had the accident not happened. The at-fault party or their insurance company “makes the victim whole” by providing compensation for damages such as medical treatment, car repairs, or lost wages.

How to Claim for Lost Wages and Compensation

Whether you’re seeking compensation for lost wages through the insurance claim process or a lawsuit, you need to prove the following:

  • The other party was at least 51% at fault in the accident
  • Your lost earnings were caused by the accident

Illinois has a comparative fault system, which means that drivers can only recover damages from accidents for which they were less than 50% responsible. In cases where a driver may have been partially responsible, a court or an insurance company will reduce the damages award accordingly.

For example, if a claims adjuster concludes you were 20% responsible for an accident, he or she may reduce your settlement by that amount. Similarly, Illinois judges instruct juries to reduce damage amounts in proportion to a claimant’s fault.

The Evidence You Need to Recover for Lost Earnings

To prove that you deserve compensation, you’ll need to provide extensive documentation relating to your injuries and how they affect your earning ability. This holds true whether you’re filing an insurance claim or a legal complaint. In most cases, you’ll need to request your medical care providers to release your medical records.

To substantiate your claim for lost earnings, you’ll need evidence that your injuries from the accident kept you from working. This might involve a note from your doctor recommending that you not work for some time, and a statement from your employer confirming your absence.

You would also need evidence of the wages and benefits you would have received during the time you missed work. This includes your salary, sick days, vacation days, bonuses and any other form of compensation for your work. Your employer’s human resources department will usually be able to provide you with accurate documentation reflecting your wages and benefits.

If you’re self-employed, it is considerably more difficult to prove lost wages. Unless you’re a contractor with regular customers it won’t be easy to estimate your potential earnings for a given time period. Some victims hire forensic accountants to provide evidence of lost income.

You Can Claim for Past and Future Lost Wages

You can also claim damages resulting from future lost wages. If your injuries will require a lengthily treatment and recovery, you can include an estimate of the amount of money you will lose from your reduced ability to work. Again, you would need to show that your medical issue was caused by the accident, and that your condition actually precludes you from earning money.

Do you have other, unanswered questions? Give the Chicago car accident lawyers from Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. a call at for a free consultation of your case.