Lost Wages in North Carolina Personal Injury Cases

personal injury

Our Durham Personal Injury Lawyers and Greensboro Personal Injury Attorneys are currently handling about 50 auto accident personal injury claims, and they get a new personal injury case every week or so. Many of those personal injury cases involve clients who have missed time from work due to their injuries. Today’s Durham Injury Blog and Greensboro Injury Blog post discuss whether you are entitled to receive compensation for your lost wages in your North Carolina personal injury claim even if you received wage payments from your employer. If you have any questions that you want to discuss with a Durham Accident Lawyer or Greensboro Accident Lawyer, please feel free to contact our Durham Attorneys or Greensboro Attorneys by phone, email or via the contact box to the right (we won’t pressure you to hire us, and we are happy to answer your question for free).

Coming into their case many of our clients believe that they cannot be compensated for their lost wages or loss of wages if they have used their sick time or vacation time or if they have AFLAC or some other short-term disability insurance or long-term disability insurance.  Additionally, many of our clients miss work but have wonderful employers who choose to continue paying our client while our client is out of work. These clients almost all believe that they cannot be compensated for their loss of wages.

In North Carolina, there is a law called the Collateral Source Rule. Essentially what the North Carolina Collateral Source Rule provides in this circumstance (where you miss time from work, but you are paid wages under benefits that you have been provided by your employer or that you have paid for) is that the at-fault party or the at-fault party’s insurance company cannot deny your lost wages claim or loss of wages claim simply because the at-fault party or their insurance company believes that you were being paid anyway. In essence, the at-fault driver and their insurance company are not given credit for benefits that you paid for (or that your employer-provided), and you can be paid twice for your time (once from your employer, and once from the insurance company). If this seems “unfair” or like a “windfall” please note that many employers and disability insurers have provisions in their policies that allow for reimbursement of benefits paid if you receive compensation for lost wages from the at-fault party.

Please note that the Collateral Source Rule is actually a rule of evidence that applies at trial (it makes evidence of payments made by your employer inadmissible), so if you are handling your own case we do not recommend that you tell the adjuster that the “North Carolina law does not allow them to deny your wages” as that is not technically true. The Collateral Source Rule does not technically mean the insurance company cannot deny your lost wages, it just means that if they deny your lost wages claim and your case goes to trial, the insurance company cannot offer evidence of payments made by your employer (so to the Judge or Jury, it will sound like you were never paid).

If you have any questions about your North Carolina lost wages claim or North Carolina loss of wages claim, please do not hesitate to call or email one of our Durham Personal Injury Lawyers or Greensboro Injury Attorneys. We are happy to answer your legal questions free of charge over the phone or over email.