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Can I claim for loss of earnings if I've been injured in an accident?

View profile for Katie Plappert
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When should an accident or disease be reported to the Health and Safety Executive?

One of the most stressful aspects of being involved in an accident is often having to have time off work, especially for those that are not entitled to company sick pay. The absence is usually immediately following the accident when symptoms are most severe, but can also be later on due to flare ups, after treatment or surgery.

Can I claim for loss of earnings if I’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t my fault?

Yes. If you have suffered a financial loss as a result of an injury, which could be time off work you didn’t get paid for, or a loss of overtime or bonus as a result of an inability to work through injury, such losses could be claimed. A claim for loss of earnings or loss of profit can be included as part of a personal injury claim. In order for a claim to be successful documentary evidence must be provided to prove the loss and the documents needed will depend on whether a person is employed or self-employed.

How would I prove I’ve lost earnings?

An employed person will be asked to provide copies of their wage slips to show their salary or hourly wage both before and after the accident (assuming they have returned to work) as evidence of what they have lost/continue to lose. The employer will usually be contacted as well to verify the period of absence and to confirm the reason given. These claims are usually more straightforward although can be complicated by fluctuating hours, loss of overtime, bonus, or unsociable hour payments.

I haven’t yet been able to return to work, will that be an issue?

No, providing we can obtain proof of earnings prior to you needing to take time off, the fact that you are yet to return won’t be an issue.

I’m self-employed, will that make a difference to my claim?

As a self-employed person you will be asked to provide copies of your self-assessment tax returns and profit and loss accounts to prove your earnings. Claims of this nature are sometimes more difficult as it is not possible to actually see the loss in the same way as for an employed person who has an obvious reduction on their pay slip at the end of the month.

For this reason it is very important to instruct experienced solicitors who understand the different methods of calculation and how best to present your claim, which will depend on many factors such as whether you are a sole trader, in a partnership, or the director of a company. If a claim is particularly complex or high value then it may be necessary to instruct an accountant to calculate your loss of earnings. Again, the solicitor should advise you if this will be necessary.

I received full pay whilst I was off, do I still have to claim?

Even if full pay has been received during a period of absence there may still be a claim to be made, but on behalf of your employer, this is referred to as employer’s recoupment. Many employment contracts include a clause that allows employers to recover sick pay when a claim is being made against a third party. It is important that this is considered to make sure that you as  injured person is not in breach of their employment contract, which could leave you responsible for those sums.

What is the current level of SSP?

If eligible, statutory sick pay (SSP) should be paid by an employer if their employee has been injured and unable to work for four days or more. The current level of SSP is £94.25 per week (payable after three initial "waiting days"). This can be paid for up to 28 weeks.

Any sick pay or benefits that are received as a direct result of an injury will be offset against a claim for loss of earnings. This puts the claimant back into the position that they would have been in had the accident not happened, and avoids any “double recovery”.

Here at Stephensons our personal injury specialists have many years of experience handling all types of injury claims including those for loss of earnings. Call us now on 01616 966 229.