Charleston Attorney for Lost Wages after a Car Accident

Car accidents can be traumatic and painful. After suffering injuries in a collision due to another driver’s negligence, you may also struggle with significant financial consequences. In addition to a growing stack of medical bills, you will probably have to take substantial time off work as you recover from your injuries. 

If you have lost wages in a car accident that was another party’s fault, you have the right to claim compensation. The experienced Charleston car accident attorneys at Crantford Meehan will help you fight to recover what you have lost. We will build a strong case to demonstrate the true extent of your losses, and do everything we can to hold the at-fault party accountable.

Call us today at (843) 960-3581 or contact us online for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.

Your Right to Recover Lost Wages After a Crash in South Carolina 

In personal injury claims for accidents such as automobile collisions, you have the right to seek financial compensation for any losses you have suffered due to another person’s negligence or wrongdoing. Among the most common types of losses in injury claims are lost wages.

After sustaining significant injuries in an accident, you might need to take time off work. You may be unable to work because you are being treated in the hospital. Alternatively, you might need to miss work because your injuries have caused a temporary or permanent disability that prevents you from performing your job duties. Either way, the term “lost wages” refers to any money you are unable to earn because of your accident-related injuries.

This income may include:

  • Your base pay or the wages you otherwise would have earned had you not needed to take time off
  • Overtime you would normally have worked in the period after the accident
  • Vacation days or sick days you had to take while you were recovering
  • Commissions and bonuses you would have been entitled to had you been working
  • Increases in your salary you were on track to receive
  • Employment perks such as transportation allowances and insurance
  • Missed contributions to your retirement fund or pension

The aim of a personal injury claim is to recover your financial losses to the greatest extent possible. However, depending on your employment structure, the nature of your work, and how you are normally paid, proving some of these losses can be difficult.

Calculating Lost Wages

You can calculate your base lost wages using a simple formula.

If you earn your wages hourly, you can determine your lost wages by multiplying the number of hours you missed by the hourly wage you earn.

If you are on a salary, the calculation involves one additional step. You must divide your salary by 2,080, which is the usual number of regular work hours in a year. The resulting number is your hourly wage, which you will then multiply by the number of work hours you missed.


Self-employed people have the same right to claim lost income in a personal injury claim as someone who earns wages. However, independent contractors, freelancers, and gig workers often have a more challenging time proving lost wages. Demonstrating how much money you have lost will depend on your usual workload and how much time you were away. To prove your case, you will need to provide documents such as:

  • Tax returns
  • 1099-MISC forms 
  • Correspondents with usual or prospective clients
  • Profit and loss statements
  • Documents from your accountant

Self-employed individuals often face more significant challenges than other workers when trying to obtain wage compensation from insurance companies. Working with a seasoned personal injury lawyer can help you build as strong a case as possible by gathering all the necessary documentation and presenting it clearly.

Sick Days and Paid Time Off

In addition to the money you would normally have earned if you had been working, you are also entitled to receive compensation for days off you previously accrued that you had to use while you were recovering, including:

  • Personal days
  • Vacation days
  • Sick days
  • Paid time off (PTO)

If you would have accrued some of these days during the time you missed work, you could obtain compensation to make up for them. 

Proving Lost Wages

You may only recover income for the wages you missed as a medically necessary and direct result of your accident-related injuries. Insurance companies may argue that your injuries did not necessarily force you to miss work. A successful claim will require you to demonstrate clearly that your time off work was necessary.

In most cases, a physician’s statement is the most effective way to make your case about required missed wages. Your doctor will give their professional opinion about how your injuries affect your ability to work. If they believe that you are capable of working, they might still stipulate that you should only do so if you adhere to certain restrictions. However, your employer may not be able to accommodate these restrictions, thus preventing you from returning to work. In such a case, you are still entitled to recover lost wages.

In addition to your doctor’s note, the following documents could help you demonstrate that you missed time from work:

  • Timesheets
  • Tax returns
  • Pay stubs
  • W-2s
  • Employer’s letters

You might also want to request a written statement from your HR department outlining benefits, pay, and any other opportunities you missed.

Contact a Charleston Car Accident Attorney

If a car accident has forced you to lose wages due to missed time at work, contact the seasoned South Carolina car crash attorneys of Crantford Meehan. Our lawyers will help you build the strongest case possible by gathering the necessary documents, calculating the true extent of your losses, and negotiating with the insurance company. Call us today at (843) 960-3581 or contact us online for a free consultation and let us get to work for you.

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