The financial burden forced onto those who have suffered a recent car accident can be extremely overwhelming and even devastating.
If you’re accident has caused you serious injuries, you may be forced to miss work without pay for several days or even weeks due to this unforeseen accident.
With mounting medical bills and utility bills and mortgage payments continuing on their normal course, many people in this situation are stuck in a very unfavorable situation. If your injuries resulting from a car accident are causing you to miss work, you should know that you may be able to obtain compensation for the wages that you have lost during this time period.
What is considered “lost wages” after an auto accident?
In car accident cases, the term “lost wages” refers to the money that you are missing out on and should have earned from your employer while you were unable to work from the time of the accident to the time of the settlement of judgement.
3 Options to Recover Lost Wages
Typically, you will have a few options to recover lost wages after an accident:
1) Make a request to your insurance company. Make sure that you provide documentation of the lost wages that have began accruing and stay on top of it throughout your case. Because we are in Florida, we do have PIP coverage to turn to, but if you have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage and the driver who caused the accident does not have insurance, then you can collect lost wages through your own UM coverage, if available.
Your next option is 2) Go after the other driver’s insurance company if he or she caused the accident. If the other driver is at-fault, you will be able to submit a lost wages claim through that driver’s liability coverage.
The last option is to 3) File a lawsuit against the other driver (in serious cases).
PIP Personal Injury Protection for Lost Wages
In Florida, we all have to carry PIP (Personal Injury Protection) Coverage or in other words, Florida No-Fault insurance. Although PIP is most commonly used to help pay your medical bills, in some cases it can also help with covering lost wages. We have talked previously about how PIP covers a maximum of $10,000. If your accident was severe enough to take you to the hospital or some urgent care facility, your PIP quickly gets used up on medical bills and there may not be any funds for it to help cover your lost wages.
PIP does not cover for all lost wages, either. What it will do is cover up to 60% of the wages that you can prove that you missed due to the accident. Documentation is EVERYTHING when talking about getting lost wages covered! Being able to get with people at your job, get hours logged, and documenting the time that you missed is very important to submitting a lost wage claim. Even if you do it all the correct way, you are still looking at 60% coverage.
If you are planning out your post-accident insurance strategy, you want to get in touch with your insurance company early and let them know to reserve some of those funds or set some aside as you are planning to make a lost wage claim.
It can be difficult to come up with a post-accident insurance strategy on your own while juggling your new injuries and even the doctors appointments to follow. It can be very tricky when dealing with insurance companies and you want to make sure that you don’t say the wrong thing to hurt your case. Having the right approach right from the beginning is key. I believe that it would be in your best interest to seek out an experienced car accident lawyer to help you move forward, get the insurance companies to pay for your medical bills and lost wages, and get you back to your normal life after the accident.
Lost Wages FAQ
To calculate lost wages after a car accident and injury claim, take the amount of your hourly wage and multiply it by the number of hours you missed due to the accident. For example, if your hourly wage is $18, and you missed work for 5 days (8 hours per day), your calculation would be: $18 x (8 hrs x 5 days) = $720 (your total lost wages).