Can I Recover Lost Overtime in My New Mexico Personal Injury Case?
There are a number of different damages that may be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit. Damages refer to the injuries and losses that you have suffered as a result of the accident.
Lost wages are among the damages that may be recovered. Recovery of damages just means that you are compensated for the damages that you have suffered. Just as lost wages are recoverable, so too is lost overtime pay. After all, overtime pay is simply an element of wages.
Like any lost wages claim, the loss of overtime must be proven
Like any lost wages claim, the loss of overtime must be established. In other words, you must prove to the insurance company that indeed you did suffer a loss of overtime pay.
With any lost wage claim, you must document your wages. Typically, you will need to document your wage history for at least 3 months prior to the accident. It is helpful to provide longer wage histories if you can so there is no dispute over the history and consistency of your wages.
The same would hold true for overtime. In order to show a loss of overtime pay, you will need to show that the overtime pay was reasonably expected. Like any lost wage claim, this would require a history or pattern of overtime pay.
This may be problematic in case of new or recent employment. In other words, there may simply be no history of wages or overtime due to the brevity of employment. The same would hold true in case a new project was started with your current employer with the anticipation of overtime pay.
A history of overtime pay is helpful but not absolutely necessary
The lack of an overtime history will not bar your claim for loss of overtime pay. It will simply require additional documentation.
In case of an absence of overtime history due to recent employment, you will need to prove that you would have been earning overtime pay if not for the accident. You would also need to prove the expected duration of overtime pay.
When you have an established history of overtime, it may be reasonably expected to continue indefinitely into the future. Without such a history, this will be slightly more challenging.
In this case, you would need to establish that overtime pay would have been earned regularly following the accident due to the nature of the employment or industry. In other words, there are jobs where overtime is simply expected and it does not matter whether you are a longtime or brand new employee.
There may be other cases where your employer has begun a new project, which will require overtime from the workers. In this case, it should not be too difficult to prove lost overtime. You would simply need to prove the existence of the project, your assignment to the project and the duration of the project. This could readily be done through your employer.
As with all personal injury claims, or any other legal issue for that matter, there will be countless and sometimes unexpected variations on these issues. Proving damages is extremely important. After all, if you cannot prove that you have suffered injuries or damages, you will not be entitled to recover on your claims.
If you have suffered serious personal injuries with significant damages, it is highly advisable that you seek the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney. Documenting and proving your damages is a rather simple concept which like many legal issues because vastly more complex in practice.
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