How Do I Get My LOST WAGES Paid In An Injury Case?
How To Prove A Lost Wage?
How to prove wage loss? The reason I bring it up, is because it's important for you to know how and what we need to do to prove a wage loss. If you're handling the case, yourself the same rules are going to apply to you as they would a lawyer. I want to talk about wage loss in a worker's comp case first.
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Temporary Total Disability
TTD or temporary total disability is something you're entitled to with a doctor's note in a worker's com. TTD is a fancy word for they pay you two-thirds of your salary while you're off work or they're supposed to. But they don't take out payroll taxes. so even though it's two-thirds of your salary, they're not taking out your payroll taxes, so it's pretty close to what you would be making on your paycheck anyway. So it's actually not that bad.
It is not automatic. It's supposed to be. The purpose of the compact is to compensate injured workers. But the truth is that in most cases, it's probably more than 50% of the cases where people call me saying they're not getting TTD and I gotta get it going for them. Even though the law says you're entitled to it, if you're hurt at work and you're an injured worker in Illinois, they don't pay it automatically, you have to fight them a little bit.
So don't be surprised if you get hurt at work and you're off work with a doctor's note and you're not getting your checks automatically. You got to fight. They also play games with the checks. They are like "oh there was a computer glitch, we didn't send it out this week" that kind of nonsense, for some reason still goes on other things.
Last thing I'll say about workers comp wage loss is, doctor's note. If you have a doctor's note saying you're not supposed to be at work then you're entitled to TTD. It does not matter how bad you feel. If you haven't seen a doctor and gotten the doctor's note saying that you can't work or that you can't do the job based on your work restrictions, you're not entitled to TTD no matter what, so keep that in mind.
Every time you go to the doctor, when you go to in a worker's comp case, you get a work status note from the doctor. If they've handled any workers comp cases ever, hopefully they'll understand how important that is for you. If you read my other articles, you'll know and I just told you again, it's important to have a work status all the time. What the doctor thinks you can do or whether the doctor thinks you should be off work altogether.
Third Party Cases
So that's workers comp, but what about in a third-party injury case? It's completely different. In a car crash, fall down, dog bite, nursing home or whatever it is. If you're losing time from work, it makes our case stronger, if you have a doctor's note, it certainly helps if a doctor has ordered you off work. Unless you've got like two broken legs and then it's obvious.
The way third parties work is that there's no payment for you while the case is going. Like in workers comp, ideally you're getting that weekly or biweekly check for the time off work. But in a third party case, we just get a lump sum of money at the end of the case. Either by verdict or by settlement, that is supposed to compensate you for everything including your lost wages. It can create a real hardship if you're off work in a car crash or a fall down. Because you got no money coming in and the money's not going to come in until the case is resolved.
Here's what you need in a third party case. The judge is going to make us turn over the year before, the year of and the year after tax records. So let's say you got hurt in 2018, the judge is eventually going to want you to turn over your tax records from 2017, 2018 and 2019. Sometimes they order that you turn over more, but if you haven't filed taxes and years, there are judges out there who will bar you from making a wage loss claim. Even if they didn't, if the case goes in front of a jury, if you don't pay your taxes, you're not likely to get a lot of sympathy from a jury full of people who do pay their taxes.
Wage Loss Authorization
The other thing is, we need a wage loss authorization from your employer. In other words, it's just this sheet of paper they fill out where they sign off and say yes the guy was off work from such-and-such to such-and-such and he makes X dollars an hour. We need that, because it substantiates your injury claim. Just like a doctor's note makes your need to be off work more likely, having a note from your employer saying exactly what days off, they don't have to take your word for it, they have proof of it.
Substantiate The Claim
The bottom line in a third party case is, we want to substantiate and make the claim real and provable not just based on your say-so. Anyone can go in and say "I lost three months of work" well anyone can say that. But when you show up with your tax records that show the year before and the year after, you made three months more money. And you show up with a note from your employer or authorization from your employer that's filled out that shows you lost three months, it makes your wage loss more credible.
So those are the things you need. Tax records from the year before, the year of, and the year after your injury and a wage loss authorization. Now if you're self-employed or something like that, there's maybe we get a letter from your accountant or your bookkeeper or there's different ways to prove it in different circumstances.
That's how wage loss works in workers comp and in third-party cases. I hope that this information helps you. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out and ask.
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