Can I Recover Lost Wages if I Miss Work Because of a Virginia Car Accident?

Sep 1, 2022 | Auto Accidents

Yes, you can recover lost wages for missed work due to a Virginia car accident. But to do so, you’ll need to provide several employment documents to prove your case. These documents can include:

  • W-2 showing income
  • Proof of hours or days you missed work
  • Evidence that the car accident is the cause of your missed work (for example, documented doctor’s appointments related to the injury)
  • A statement from your employer
  • Bank statements
  • Tax returns


The evidence required for your lost wages will vary based on the nature and type of your employment. 

Before you can claim lost wages, you’ll need to prove fault and avoid the courts finding you at fault for the accident due to Virginia’s contributory negligence law.

Proving Fault in a Car Accident

Before you can get compensation for missed work due to a car accident, you’ll need to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident. This means presenting evidence that the other driver was negligent in their operations of a motor vehicle. 

Some examples of negligence that can lead to a car accident include:

  • Speeding
  • Running a red light
  • Failing to signal when turning or changing lanes
  • Abrupt stopping
  • Following another vehicle too closely
  • Operating a vehicle recklessly
  • Driving distracted
  • Poor vehicle maintenance
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol


What Is Pure Contributory Negligence?

Virginia is a challenging state when it comes to car accident claims. That’s because it operates under the pure contributory negligence rule. This means that if you’re found to be at fault for even 1 percent of the accident, you cannot claim damages from the other party.

This leads many accident victims to file claims with their own insurance. Small mistakes or missteps in the claims process can give the opposing party grounds to claim that you were partially at fault for the accident. 

Pure contributory negligence is far stricter than comparative negligence, which some states use as a determination of how much to award accident victims in damages. Under comparative negligence, the courts will decrease the total settlement by the percent you were at fault. But with pure contributory negligence, you have no grounds for seeking compensation if you were partially at fault, no matter how small of a part you played in the accident.

Damages You Can Seek in Virginia

In addition to missed work, you can seek several other damage types as part of a car accident claim. This includes both economic damages – that is, damages that have a documented dollar amount associated with them – and non-economic damages or damages that do not have a specific dollar amount associated with them.

Here are some damage types you might pursue with a Virginia car accident claim.

  1. Property damage, including vehicle damage
  2. Visits to your doctor
  3. Medication expenses
  4. Future medical expenses
  5. Lost wages
  6. Disability
  7. Pain and suffering


There are also punitive damages, which are less common. The maximum amount allowable in Virginia for punitive damages is $350,000, for rare cases of gross negligence. Your Geoff McDonald and Associates Attorney will be able to advise you about punitive damages accordingly.

Calculating a fair settlement amount can be challenging because it accounts for both items you have receipts for and damages that you cannot put a price on, such as pain and suffering.

Having an attorney on your side throughout the claim process is the best way to ensure you’ve covered all necessary expenses when calculating your settlement amount. 

Geoff McDonald & Associates offers a skilled team of attorneys who know the importance of claiming lost wages and other expenses when filing a Virginia car accident claim. Contact us now for a free consultation to review your case and determine the best next steps.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.


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