Many Americans pursue the American dream by carving out their own paths and taking risks to achieve their dreams through self-employment. In 2009, 1 in 9 workers, or 15.3 million Americans, were self-employed. Carving out your own path comes with risks. For one, it can be increasingly difficult to request wage loss compensation if you are the plaintiff in a personal injury case. This is why you will need the help and advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
What Is Considered as Wage Loss?
For those who are self-employed, determining what is and isn't wage loss can be rather difficult because there isn't a set income. The amount you earn fluctuates based on the amount of work you have and the amount of work you can do. In these situations, most personal injury lawyers recommend you show what you missed by not being able to work.
For example, you should provide information regarding missed appointments or a decrease in billings and invoices. If you couldn't attend meetings to secure projects or work, provide detailed information regarding what your projected income would have been if you had secured the contract. You should also provide information regarding any delays experienced in the progress of the project that have resulted because of the injury.
What Type of Documents and Evidence Do You Need?
When you're self-employed, you'll need to be fully equipped with strong and convincing evidence capable of projecting your missed earnings. The burden of proof is on you to prove that you did indeed experience wage loss and to prove the amount of loss experienced. Personal injury attorneys recommend having the following documents with you when you go in for a consultation. They include:
- A doctor's note. The doctor's note should include information regarding the severity and extent of your injuries, along with the type of treatments and medications that have been prescribed and recommended. The note should also include details regarding how the injuries have caused you to be unable to work.
- A copy of the police report. A police officer is a credible witness, and the police report can provide damning evidence regarding who is at fault and the circumstances involved in the incident.
- Tax returns from the previous year. Because it is difficult to gauge the amount of income lost, compare any decrease in billings seen during the time you were unable to work or unable to take on a lot of work with normal billings and invoices of previous months and years.
- Letters you've sent to potential clients or customers. Missed opportunities can also be considered wage loss. It is your responsibility to prove that you were unable to attend meetings or to take on additional projects and work because of the injury. These letters will prove you took appropriate measures to notify potential clients regarding your situation.
- Signed or written contracts of the work involved. If you could not finish a project or bill for the entire project due to the accident, you should prove how much you would have potentially earned if the accident did not happen.
Adjustments for missed opportunities resulting in wage loss can be difficult to justify. Without a strong case, it is easy for the defendant to argue their way out of being liable. Make sure an experienced personal injury lawyer represents you.
If you're requesting wage loss compensation and are self-employed, the legal proceedings involved become increasingly hard to deal with. Make sure you have strong evidence supporting your claims. Speak with a personal injury attorney to determine the type of evidence you need and whether you can request for missed opportunities and other related losses.