You wake up in a California hospital bed, groggy, and have no idea why you are there. Your family is at your bedside.
“You were in an accident,” your sister tells you. “Your motorcycle was clipped by another car and you wound up in a ditch. We are so lucky. It could have been so much worse.”
She fills in the details of your injuries, tells you what happened to your bike and lets you know the doctor told them you are going to be okay but you need to rest and recuperate to get better. Your family is relieved that you are going to be okay.
Your family members have left your side and you now have your senses about you and you are alone with your thoughts. The first thing that springs to mind: money. How will you pay the hospital bills your insurance does not cover? And how will you pay the rent and all the other household bills if you cannot go back to work right away?
Under California law, you can seek compensation for your lost wages.
When you are in an accident, lost wages are the money you would have earned at your job from the time of the accident until you settle your case. You can seek compensation for the money you would have received had your injuries not kept you from returning to work, as long as those injuries were directly from the accident and did not occur from a prior accident or incident.
You may also be entitled to compensation for “lost earning capacity,” which means you can no longer return to work or can only return to work with modified duties. In other words, you can still work at your job but are being paid a reduced salary or hourly rate because you are disabled. In some cases it includes bonuses lost.
You can file a lost wages claim wth the insurance company of the at-fault driver, or in a more serious case, you might need to file a lawsuit against the driver. Remember that your first concern should be your recovery. However, when you are feeling better, you should reach out and speak with an attorney who is experienced in accident cases. That attorney can educate you about your best options going forward to resolve your claim.