Because I take care of people who are physically injured, most of my clients miss time from work. Many of my Virginia and Washington DC clients are Federal employees – when they miss time from work, most of the time, the HR department can run a payroll report that shows the days they missed from work around the time of the injury and the days they missed work due to doctor’s appointments. Add to that a pay stub and voila! We know what the lost wage claim is.
Lost Wages For Self-Employed Gig Workers
More and more, however, employees are contractors or gig workers who can’t simply run a payroll report to determine lost wages. Their lost income is just as real, if not more so, because chances are that they don’t have a sick leave bank to cover the “lost wages.” They are really, truly, cash strapped because they cannot work. Still, they still need to prove their lost wages in order to receive compensation. Here are some steps gig workers can take to prove lost wages.
- Keep records of your earnings: Maintain records of your earnings from gig work, such as bank statements or PayPal transactions, to show the amount of money you were actually earning before your injury or loss. Proving earnings week over week can be a very persuasive way to prove what someone would have earned if they had not been hurt.
If your record keeping is on the informal side, getting hurt should be a trigger for you to get organized. A recent Virginia bicycle crash client had a crash back in 2015. Trying to reconstruct lost wages that far back has been excruciating. The best time for her to truly capture her lost earnings was at the time of her injury. Recreating gig work income years later is nearly impossible. (And if you make a lost wages claim, make sure you are in full compliance with our friends at the IRS. If you claim you lost significant wages, your year-end taxes from the year of the injury and the year prior need to be consistent with your claim and demonstrate you are a tax paying citizen!)
- Gather documentation: Keep track of all the jobs you were scheduled to perform or missed as a result of your injury or loss. This can include invoices, receipts, or any other documentation that shows the amount of money you were expected to earn.
- Provide detailed testimony: If you need to prove lost wages in court, you may need to provide detailed testimony about the nature and extent of your gig work and the impact of your injury or loss on your earnings. You may also need to provide evidence of your work history and experience to show that your gig work was a significant source of income. This type of evidence is very weak. If a person claims they would have made substantial income if not for the injury, a judge or jury will be skeptical if there is no money to back it up.
By gathering and presenting strong evidence of your lost wages, you can increase your chances of receiving compensation for the financial impact of your injury or loss. The process of proving lost wages can be complex and may require the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney. If you have been out of work due to an injury and need help figuring out if you have a strong claim for lost wages, from a bike accident or auto accident contact our experienced personal injury attorney for help.