When you’ve been injured in an accident, its understandable that you may not be able to do your job. Your injuries may prevent you from working altogether, or you may have a partial disability that prevents you from doing portions of your job. Perhaps you are able to work, but you may have to take time off of work to attend appointments for doctors visits, physical therapy or medical tests such as an MRI. The law allows you to include in your injury claim loss of income. BUT, proving those losses requires very specific documentation. Without it, an insurance company will not consider your loss of earnings as part of your claim, and a jury will not include loss of earnings damages in a verdict.
If you’re injured to the extent that you cannot work, either full duty or light duty, you MUST have a note or report from your doctor stating that you cannot work. Without documentation from a doctor, your time off of work will be unsupported and not proven to be connected to your injuries. Disability from work is a medical concept that requires a doctor’s confirmation. The doctor will typically provide a limited number of days off work in the beginning. If your disability is longer than the first few days, you must return to the doctor to have your disability extended and renewed as long as you are unable to do your job.
Once you have medical support for your time off of work, you will need to establish the value of your time. Typically, this will be your rate of pay. It is easy to calculate your loss of income where you have a rate of pay that can be calculated as an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly rate. It becomes a matter of math. Unfortunately, this calculation is anything but easy for self employed people.
For the self employed, it is more difficult to prove a loss of income. Most self employed people are paid based upon the profitability of their businesses. This does not lend itself to easy calculation on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis. Extended time away from work can be analyzed by comparing earnings during a similar period of time before the injury. A self employed person can hire someone to cover for him or her to keep the business going, and can claim that expense in addition to or instead of a loss of income. It is important that a self employed person keeps records showing the profitability of the business to support any loss of income.