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Being involved in an accident is bad enough; what becomes worse, is having to take time off from work. While the trauma of the accident and the accompanying pain does take its toll, the loss of earning adds to the burden. Thankfully, the law provides compensation if a person suffers a loss of earnings due to an accident leading to personal injury, provided the accident was not due to the individual’s fault or mistake.
A financial loss that is incurred as a result of an accident could be either a loss of pay, overtime or bonus if employed; or a loss of earnings or profit if self-employed, and can be claimed in a court of law. However, to be successful in getting the claim, the claimant will need to provide documentary evidence that proves the loss incurred.
What Type of Documentary Proof is Required by an Employed Person?
An employed person who is claiming compensation for loss of earnings due to personal injury will have to provide the wage slip as documentary evidence. If the person has resumed work, the previous wage slip at the time of the accident as well as the current wage slip has to be submitted to prove the quantum of loss incurred due to the absence from work; and/or the reduction in wages due to the injury. The court may contact the employer to verify the period of absence as also the reason for the absence. While the claim can be straightforward, any loss incurred due to fluctuating hours of work, overtime, or bonus can complicate the claim.
What Type of Documentary Proof is Required by a Self-Employed Person?
A self-employed person will have to provide copies of tax returns and profit and loss accounts to prove the loss of earnings/profits. While it is far easier to calculate the quantum of loss for an employed person, claims by a self-employed person can be difficult to quantify. According to a senior professional at WaymanandLong Solicitors, factors such as whether the person is the proprietor or sole trader, a partner or a director of a company will affect the calculation of the quantum of loss. It is important to find and hire an experienced personal injury claims solicitor who understands the various methods of calculating the loss and the best way to present the claim.
Is a Claim Necessary if the Person has Received Full pay While not at Work?
This will depend on the employment contract between the employee and the employer. An employment contract could include a clause that will allow the employer to recover sick pay if a claim is made by the injured employee against a third party. This means that the injured employee, who has received full pay during the period of absence, will be required to claim on behalf of his employer. This is known as the employer’s recoupment. If the employment contract features this clause, the claim should be made. Failure to make the claim would place the employee in breach of contract and liable for the sum involved.
Can a Claim be Made if SSP is Received by the Injured Employee?
SSP (statutory sick pay), is paid by the employer if the injured employee is unable to work for a minimum of four days. SSP can be paid for up to twenty-eight weeks of absence due to injury. However, SSP or any benefit received by the injured employee as a direct result of the injury is offset against the claim made for loss of earning. This is to ensure that there is no chance of a double recovery.
The Importance of Hiring a Solicitor
There is no legal binding that requires a person to hire a solicitor to handle the claim. However, the factors that can affect the success of the case and the amount of compensation that can be awarded will depend on how the claim is presented. Unless the claimant is well versed legally, it would be prudent to hire the services of an experienced solicitor to put forward the arguments or work out an out of court settlement. However, the firm or solicitor chosen and hired must have experience in handling personal injury cases.
The Bottom Line
The law provides compensation for loss of earnings resulting from personal injury suffered, as long as the person injured is not responsible for the injury. The purpose of this compensation is to help take the injured person back to the state he/she would have been in if the accident or injury had not occurred.