Being involved in an accident can result in extensive injuries, costly medical bills, disability, and other expenses you never planned for. If your injuries keep you from working, you can experience significant financial strain during recovery and afterward. You should seek compensation for lost wages if another party's carelessness caused the accident and your injuries.

Seeking compensation for lost wages can be challenging, especially when quantifying your damages. In addition to documenting the lost wages, you must prove that the time off work was medically necessary and provide evidence showing that the accident was not your fault. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you through the process of seeking compensation. Your lawyer will help you gather the required information to recoup your money through a lost wages claim.

Definition Of Lost Wages

Lost wages constitute any income you could have earned if you never suffered an injury. Your injuries must have resulted from an accident or other incident caused by another person's negligence. You cannot file a lost wages claim for injuries that existed before the accident.

What You Can Include In a Lost Wages Claim

When filing a lost wages claim in Nevada, you can include:

Sick Days Spent When Recovering From The Injury

You can allege that you could have used sick days at any time if you had not claimed them due to your injuries. The law allows you to seek compensation for the fair value of your sick days.

Vacation Days

You could use vacation days to have ample time to recover from your injuries. Had it not been for your injuries, you would have been able to save those days for a real vacation. You can seek compensation from the liable party for the value of the lost vacation days.

Tips You Would Have Earned At Work

Tips are included in a lost wages lawsuit. However, you cannot recover tips if you have not reported them previously. The best way to prove lost tips is with proof of a prior period's income or a letter from your employer. You can prove a prior period's income with bank deposit slips. You can provide your paycheck or a copy of a previous tax return document.

Lost Perks

Time off work could mean losing perks. Perhaps you have a company cell phone or car. Your employer could also have given you a gym membership. The law allows you to claim the value of these perks in your lost wages lawsuit.

Bonuses You Would Have Earned

You can ask for compensation if your injuries cause you to miss out on bonuses. You must provide documents of past bonuses to prove lost bonuses. You can also request that your employer make a report showing how you earn bonuses and the additional compensation you could be missing.

Lost Overtime Pay

You can include lost overtime in your claim if you regularly work overtime. This claim is especially common among seasonal employees, like accountants or summer resort employees, who work overtime regularly during a particular part of the year.

Hourly Wages

You can calculate your total lost wages by adding up your missed work hours and multiplying them by your hourly rate. For example, if you miss five days of work, you should multiply the daily number of hours worked by the hourly rate and then multiply the result by five for five days of lost work.

Other factors that you should consider when computing lost wages include the following:

  • Commissions.
  • Lost self-employment income.

Typically, a lost wages lawsuit seeks reimbursement for any income related to your employment that you missed after suffering injuries in an accident.

How To Prove Lost Wages

You should attach the following documents as proof when you submit your lost wages claim:

Lost Wages Letter

Your best proof of lost wages as an employee is a letter from your employer. The lost wages letter can contain the following information:

  • Your job title.
  • The date you were employed and confirmed.
  • Evidence showing that you were an employee at the time of the accident or injury.
  • Your regular pay rate and frequency of pay.
  • The number of hours or days of work you missed.
  • Your overtime pay rate and the number of overtime hours you work per week.
  • Any money you could reasonably have expected to earn in commissions, overtime pay, or bonuses during that period.
  • Any other perks you would have been entitled to but did not receive.

Providing Your Pay Stubs

Presenting your pay stubs is the most popular and easiest way to prove lost wages. You should present your most recent pay stubs before your involvement in the accident. If you do not have pay stubs, you can also present a W-2 or previous year's tax returns.

A Note From Your Doctor

You must have suffered an actual physical injury that caused you to take time off work. You should provide a doctor's note detailing your injury or disability and recommending time off work.

Other relevant proofs include:

  • Financial records indicating additional costs, like hiring a household help.
  • Vocational expert analysis of reduced earning capacity from the long-term effects of your injuries.

Gathering and organizing the above income documents is crucial. Your attorney will guide you in compiling evidence acceptable to the courts and insurance adjusters.

Proving Lost Self-employment Income

If you are self-employed, you will require several documents to show what you would have earned for the time you missed work. The following are documents that can assist you in establishing your lost self-employment income:

  • A forensic accounting expert’s testimony if your income is complicated.
  • Billing statements for the months preceding the injury or accident.
  • Your tax return for the previous year.

Whether Lost Wages Are Taxable

According to the IRS, damages intended to reimburse a victim for lost wages are taxable. The IRS alleges that the amount would have undergone taxation had it been paid as employment income. However, compensation in personal injury lawsuits is usually a lump sum that is not allocated between lost wages and injuries.

Whether You Can Recover For Lost Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Typically, you are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits in Nevada unless:

  • You are ready to look for and accept work in your usual profession.
  • You are mentally and physically able to work.

Any time you are injured and unable to work, you will often have to file for disability benefits instead of unemployment insurance benefits. However, you could lose your job and fail to earn sufficient base earnings to qualify for unemployment insurance. You could file a claim based on lost unemployment benefits in this case.

Statute Of Limitations For Lost Wages Claim

The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases in Nevada is two years from the date you discovered the injury. The statute of limitations is when you should file your lawsuit. You could lose your right to sue for damages once the statute of limitations passes. However, sometimes, the statute of limitations can be suspended or stalled. The statute of limitations could be suspended because of:

  • Reversal of judgment — Sometimes, the court could overturn your case. If this happens, any claim arising from that reversal must be presented in court within one year of the reversal.
  • One of the parties is a citizen of a country at war with the U.S. — The statute of limitation could be suspended if one of the parties to the claim is a citizen of a country at war with the U.S.
  • Death of the accident victim — An individual’s estate is always given one year after the passing on of that individual for the dependents to file a claim as long as the time limit was still running when the victim passed on.
  • Out-of-state defendant — If the at-fault party resides outside Nevada, the time limit to sue in Nevada does not run.
  • Accounting, veterinary, or legal malpractice — The time limit does not run while an accountant, veterinarian, or attorney conceals any illegal act that you should have known and did not know about.

If the time limit elapses, you could take certain steps. For example, you could have more time to file your claim if your attorney proves that the at-fault party's negligent actions violated a verbal contract. The statute of limitations for suing for breach of a verbal contract is usually four years. You could also be given extra time to file a claim if a reasonable mistake or fraud kept you from discovering the facts in your case.

Discovery Rule In Nevada

Nevada’s ‘’discovery rule’’ is also known as the ‘’inquiry notice doctrine’’. This rule extends the statute of limitations to file a claim if:

  • You did not negligently or purposefully avoid discovering the claim.
  • The legal claim’s nature was hidden from you.
  • It would only be fair to give you more time to file your claim.

Procedure For Filing a Lost Wages Claim In Nevada

You can recover your lost wages through the following steps:

  • Notify your employer and insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Provide initial information and request claim forms.
  • Hire a personal injury attorney to assess your case and options. If you have grounds for compensation, the attorney will guide you.
  • Gather evidence like witness statements, income documentation, accident details from police reports, and medical records. Put the evidence into a logical timeline.
  • Send a request letter to the at-fault party's insurance company with the details of the claim and supporting facts. Include evidence like employer wage verification and medical evaluations.
  • Agree on a potential settlement that can require compiling detailed wage reports for calculating wage loss. Your attorney will help you negotiate optimal terms.
  • If no satisfactory settlement is reached, you can file a lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations. This could typically start the litigation process.
  • In litigation, your attorney will take depositions, conduct discovery, retain experts, and handle court filings and proceedings.
  • During the trial, your attorney aggressively pursues your entire claim through persuasive arguments and evidence presentation before a jury.

You should wait until you finish medical treatment and are stable before filing a claim. You should also be aware of what is covered under the terms of your insurance policy before you submit a lost wages claim. The type of insurance coverage you have will determine the damages you can recover.

Liability Bodily Injury Coverage

If someone else caused the accident, you can file a lost wage claim through the at-fault party's liability bodily injury coverage.

Uninsured Or Underinsured Motorist coverage

If someone with underinsured motorist coverage caused the accident, you could recover lost wages through underinsured motorist coverage or your own uninsured coverage if you have one. Sometimes, the at-fault party has inadequate insurance to pay for your injuries and damages. Uninsured motorist policies can cover your lost wages. The insurance company will always take fault for the uninsured driver and accept compensation for the injuries.

It is a requirement in Nevada for car insurance policies to have uninsured motorist coverage. Motorists are required to have protection at least for the following levels under the Nevada Division of Insurance:

  • $10,000 property damage per person.
  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person.
  • $30,000 for bodily injury per person per accident.

The insurance company will ask you to do the following when you request lost wages:

  • Undergo an independent medical evaluation.
  • Provide medical documents.
  • Secure an employment authorization form to allow your employer to give your insurer details regarding your job.

You should read and understand the above forms because they will give your insurer access to your medical records and personal employment information. When you submit your claim, you should include truthful and highly detailed statements regarding your lost wages. You could lose your lost wages claim if your supporting documents are incomplete or inaccurate.

When You Are Partly To Blame For The Accident

In most personal injury lawsuits, you must prove that the at-fault party was negligent for you to win a lost wages claim. Often, the at-fault party could allege that you, too, were negligent and that your share of negligence should eliminate or reduce your lost wages claim. This is usually known as ''comparative negligence". The lost wage compensation you could receive would be affected if you filed a lawsuit, but you are partially to blame for the accident that caused your injuries.

Nevada follows a comparative negligence rule in personal injury cases, calculating lost wages under a formula that considers each party's level of fault for the accident. For example, you could be 25% at fault and the other motorist 75% at fault in an accident. In this case, your lost wage claim could be reduced by 25%. You will only receive $15,000 if your total damages are $20,000.

However, the ''pure comparative negligence'' or a ''modified comparative negligence'' system can apply. Under a pure comparative negligence system, you can recover lost wages regardless of your share of fault. In this case, even if you are 90% responsible for the accident, you can recover 10% of lost wages from the other at-fault party. Under the modified comparative negligence system, you can recover lost wages if you are not more than 50% at fault.

Lost Wages And Contributory Negligence

Under the contributory negligence rule, you cannot receive lost wages via a personal injury lawsuit if you share any degree of fault for the accident. You cannot recover lost wages under this rule, even if you were only 5% at fault.

Lost Wages Claim Against State and Local Government

You have options under Nevada law when you want to seek compensation for lost wages from the government for injuries caused by a state or local government employee or officer. The options are:

  • You can file a lost wages claim with the government before filing a lawsuit.
  • You can sue the government with or without first filing a lost wages claim with the government.

Filing a Lost Wages Claim Before Filing a Lawsuit

Filing a lost wages claim with the government first has benefits. It is likely to be cheaper and quicker than a lawsuit. If you are not content with the results, you can still file a lawsuit if you have sufficient time.

You can file a lost wages claim against the state through the Nevada State Board of Examiners. Alternatively, you can file a lost wages claim against a district, school, or county through the local government. In either case, you must file your claim within two years from the date you were injured.

Check the local government's website to see if it has an office that reviews and receives claims. Some cities have a claims reporting page with forms and filing instructions. After investigating your claim, the government will determine whether to pay.

Suing The Government

You have two years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury lawsuit against the government. If you opt to file your lost wages claim first, you should give yourself sufficient time to prepare and file your lawsuit before the expiration of two years. Unfortunately, when you file a lost wages claim against the state or local government, the law can limit your claim to a maximum of $200,000.

Find A Personal Injury Attorney Near Me

If the injuries you suffer in an accident prevent you from working, you should file a personal injury claim to seek compensation. It is crucial to have an experienced personal injury attorney guide you through the claim process. Contact the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm for reliable legal guidance and representation. We will guide you through the claim process to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 702-996-1224 to speak to one of our attorneys.