How Are Lost Wages Paid After a Car Accident in Texas?

Promotional image from The Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover, focusing on a magnifying glass over the term 'WAGES' with the heading 'How Are Lost Wages Paid After a Car Accident in Texas?' indicating legal assistance for recovering lost income.

A car accident can be a major source of trauma and stress— and not just immediately after the crash. The injuries stemming from a wreck may also lead to time missed at work and lost wages, leaving victims in financial distress. In Texas, you may be able to recover financial compensation for this lost income through an insurance claim or lawsuit.

What Are Lost Wages in a Car Accident Context?

The injuries a victim sustains in a car accident can interfere with their ability to work. Imagine your job is stocking shelves at a grocery store, but you broke your arm in the crash. It may take months for your arm to heal and regain full strength, keeping you out of work and unable to earn money. Loss of income can make paying your medical bills even more stressful.

Texas law states you can seek compensation for lost wages if the motor vehicle accident was someone else’s fault. When negotiating a settlement, you may even account for lost future income if catastrophic injuries permanently prevent you from working, reduce your work hours, or negatively impact your employment prospects.

What Types of Income Count as Lost Wages?

While lost wages is the general term for missing income after an accident, it’s also a bit misleading. Compensation for lost wages can account for many different types of income, including:

  • Hourly wages/base salary pay
  • Overtime pay
  • Commissions
  • Sick days, vacation time, and similar benefits
  • Retirement contributions

Lost wages can also consist of bonuses or raises a victim was likely to earn. Were you scheduled for a raise you didn’t receive because you had to miss work after a car crash? You may be eligible to receive compensation accordingly.

How to Determine the Amount Owed

Calculating lost wages after a car accident can be simple or complex, depending on how you’re paid for your labor.

Let’s say you’re an hourly employee. You don’t receive bonuses or commissions, rarely work overtime, and are not in line for any raises. Calculating lost wages in this scenario might require determining how many hours you missed at work and multiplying that number by your base pay rate.

That’s a relatively simple example. If you’re a salaried employee, you may first have to translate your salary into daily wages. Doing so involves dividing your salary by the number of work days per year, which is usually 260, but can vary from profession to profession. Once you know your daily wages, you can multiply them by the number of days you missed at work. Remember to account for bonuses, commissions, and other additional lost wages when doing so.

The hardest part is determining how the car accident injury affects your long-term earning potential. A car accident lawyer can look at factors such as your occupation, education level, the amount of skill required to perform your job, past earnings, and the injury’s effects on your cognition or life expectancy to estimate diminished earning capacity.

Gathering Proof of Lost Wages

Proving lost wages requires solid evidence of income loss. Examples include:

  • Paystubs
  • Medical records and doctor’s notes (to show your injuries prevented you from working)
  • Notes or documentation from your employer
  • Tax returns (which may be especially helpful if you’re self-employed)

Who Pays Your Lost Wages?

In Texas, an at-fault motorist must prove they can compensate victims for any crashes they cause. The most common way for motorists to fulfill this requirement is by purchasing auto insurance.

Texas law requires at least the following liability coverage:

  • $30,000 for injuries per person
  • $60,000 for injuries per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage

The insurance company of the driver who caused the auto accident is usually responsible for paying lost wages after a collision. You seek compensation by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer. If the at-fault driver is insured or underinsured — or their insurer denies liability — you can file a lawsuit to seek damages in court or see if your auto insurance policy can account for your wage loss.

For example, you have the option of buying Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance in Texas. If you did, filing a claim with your insurance company may be another way to seek compensation for lost wages. This might be possible after a collision you caused or when a dispute over who was to blame slows down the claims process.

Filing a Claim: Steps to Take to Recover Lost Wages

Taking proper steps in the aftermath of a car accident is key to improving your chances of receiving compensation for lost wages. You can protect yourself by:

  • Reporting the crash to the police
  • Exchanging contact and insurance information with all drivers involved
  • Taking pictures of the accident scene from multiple angles
  • Getting statements and/or contact information from witnesses
  • Checking your insurance policy to learn the requirements for reporting crashes
  • Gathering evidence and documentation of lost wages
  • Discussing your case with an experienced car accident lawyer

Act fast. Insurance companies have deadlines for reporting wrecks and filing claims. In addition, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit in Texas is two years from the date of the wreck. You might waive your legal right to damages if you don’t take legal action by the deadline.

Negotiating a Settlement

The insurance company wants to settle your case for as little money as possible. You may have to negotiate hard to secure a fair offer. Here are some tips for doing so:

  • Don’t feel you have to accept a first offer.
  • Gather as much evidence and documentation as you can to strengthen your claim.
  • Negotiate in good faith, which involves being open to offers or solutions you might not have considered.
  • Ask your lawyer about relevant case law that may apply to your situation. Established precedents could strengthen your claim.

You don’t have to negotiate alone — and you shouldn’t try to. Hiring a lawyer with The Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover to represent you means you have someone familiar with Texas personal injury law and the insurance system to conduct settlement talks on your behalf.

Get Legal Help From Our Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in San Antonio

Documenting and calculating lost wages are complicated tasks. While you focus on your recovery, a San Antonio car accident lawyer at The Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover can pursue the compensation you deserve. Check out our case results to see how we’ve helped similar clients in the past, or get started right away by contacting us online for a free case review.


Troy Brookover was born and raised in San Antonio. He established the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover so that he could make a difference in the community and help accident victims recover compensation to get back on their feet after being injured by someone else’s negligence. He brings more than 30 years of legal experience to the table, which he leverages in every case.