If you are employed and injured in a vehicle crash, you may not be able to work for weeks or even months, meaning a great loss of income. In addition to recovering standard wages, you are allowed to recover wages lost from sick days, vacation days, and bonus days. However, if you are self-employed, recovering lost wages will be more challenging, since self-employed income is often unpredictable. Here are some tips to recover lost wages from a vehicle accident for the self-employed.
Know What You Can Recover
Self-employed people can recover the following in vehicle accidents: lost wages, lost business opportunities, reduced profits, lost earning ability, and lost good will. Lost good will means a business or individual may not hire you again for failing to come through the first time. A lost earning capacity means the vehicle hindered your ability to make income for an indefinite time period.
You will need to gather your income tax returns from the last several years so the courts will be able to find a pattern to determine the range for your settlement. Also provide your appointment calendar, profit and loss statements, and correspondence from companies and individuals you were supposed to do business with before you got injured. Don't forget to include salaries of anyone you hired to fill in for you while you were injured. Common sense should tell you to never try fudging your earnings.
Hire a Forensic Accountant
It may be helpful to hire a forensic accountant to figure a substantial loss of income. A forensic accountant will provide a detailed account of possible future profits from potential customers and growth rates. They can compare this figure with similar businesses in your area.
Be Prepared to Deal with the Insurance Adjuster
Many insurance adjusters consider self-employed income suspect, so be prepared for the first offer to be low. While they can't exclude loss of income for the self-employed, they will try to lower the amount. An honest claim adjuster does not make an offer until they have reviewed every document.
The adjuster offers low settlements because they are trying to save their company money, so don't act offended. If you run into a roadblock with the adjuster, consider reducing the amount slightly and within an acceptable range. As a last resort, call the adjuster's supervisor, or contact the State Department of Insurance.
A self-employed person can recover lost wages like anyone else. If you are uncertain about anything, or you have been self-employed less than a year, consider a car accident attorney, like those at Monohan & Blankenship. Having a lawyer to represent you will help make the case less complicated.