Employment Law

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Questions on Loss of Wages

Loss of wages claims are very hard to make, and thorough documentation is necessary. If you are employed with a company, just documenting your hourly wage and/or the days you were incapacitated can be sufficient for a successful loss of wages claim. If you are self-employed, you may collect costs for additional help you had to hire while you were undergoing medical treatment and/or recuperating.

A claim may also involve other types of paperwork, including medical authorization forms from the insurance company and employment authorization forms. Many have benefitted by contacting Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer to understand the nuances of this type of claim. Here are some of the top questions answered by them.

I deliver milk to a company that accused me of stealing doughnuts worth $0.99. They are refusing to look into camera evidence.

You may consider a slander suit, but such cases are hard to prove. You may also try asking your employer to speak to the company you deliver milk to, or ask to be assigned to a new location that won’t hurt your commissions.

However, if you are employed “at will,” the company can fire you without giving you any reason. In that case the first element of damages is the lost wages, past and future. While the former is easy to calculate, the future part is a little tougher because person is usually still able to get a job, and a judge or jury is not going to award the total amount as if the person will never work again.

The second category of damages is attorney's fees. That is self-explanatory.

The next category is lost benefits. This can have multiple components, including value of insurance, employer contribution to retirement, value of stock options or stock matching plans, and life insurance. These vary from employer to employer since some offer company cars, free food, discounts on merchandise, and more.

In addition, a wrongfully terminated employee may be entitled to compensation for emotional distress or mental anguish and any psychologist’s bills that would accompany these. It is rare that these would be applicable, but it definitely happens sometimes.

Can I file a counter-suit for loss of wages, threats, and harassing visits to my business from my mother, who is demanding the money I personally owe her?

The problem here is that you cannot counter-sue on behalf of your business, because your business is a separate entity. If you wished to file a new suit with your business as plaintiff, then you may sue her for “Intentional Interference with Business Relations,” which is a recognized action.

First, the complaint must allege facts that show some protectable right — a prospective economic or contractual relationship. Although the right need not equate with that found in an enforceable contract, there must be allegations of fact giving rise to some “reasonable expectation of economic advantage.” Second, the complaint must allege facts claiming that the interference was done intentionally and with malice. Third, the complaint must allege facts leading to the conclusion that the interference caused the loss of the prospective gain. A plaintiff must show that if there had been no interference, there was a reasonable probability that the victim of the interference would have received the anticipated economic benefits.

Can an insurance carrier deny my wage loss claim if I have a letter from a doctor stating that I am temporarily disabled?

The insurer is allowed to have your medical condition examined by an independent doctor other than your own doctor. If the independent doctor agrees with your doctor's findings then you cannot be denied claim. You would need to appeal the denial.

A lawyer who was working to settle my case for pain and suffering said he is entitled to $2,000 as per the 1/3 contingent fee agreement. Does contingent fee apply to wage loss benefits?

A contingent fee is the fee for a lawyer’s service that is paid only if there is a favorable result. That is to say that the fees can be charged by the lawyer only if the lawsuit is successful or is favorably settled out of court. Contingent fees are usually calculated as a percentage of the client's net recovery.

Unless your contract with the attorney says otherwise, the contingency fee applies to the total recovery. If the total recovery was $6,000, then your attorney would be entitled to $2,000.

It is best to hire employment-law attorney to ensure that you receive the entire disability benefits for which you may be eligible. Experienced attorneys help make sure you are able to recover a significant portion of your lost wages. For any further questions on disability benefits and recuperation of lost wages, contact Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer for help.
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