If you were injured due to a car accident you may suddenly be faced with a loss of income as well. Whether the injury was physical or has left a negative psychological impact on you, if your work has been substantially affected, you may be entitled to compensation. Still, it can be hard to determine on your own if your insurance company will cover your lost wages. Luckily, with the help of a good lawyer, you can get the information you need.
The typical waiting period between filing a claim and receiving compensation is about six weeks. Few people are prepared to endure an entire 1.5 months without a consistent stream of income, and even fewer can sustain the financial damage if the process were to be delayed at all. Your eligibility for coverage of lost wages is primarily dependent on two things:
- The type of coverage you have and
- Detailed documentation of your lost wages.
You must document everything extensively to strengthen your chances of receiving compensation for your lost wages. The evidence is even more significant if there are either delays in your claim or rejection.
Can I Claim Lost Wages After a Car Accident?
One of the determinants of your success in receiving compensation is whether you were at fault or not. California, for example, is an at-fault state, meaning that there will typically be one person who is held accountable for the accident due to negligence, and this person is then responsible for paying all costs associated with recovering from the incident.
There are also states in which no fault is assigned at all. In these states, drivers purchase insurance known as personal insurance protection, or “PIP.” This covers damages and injuries caused by the insurance, without placing specific blame on anyone. This coverage can also reimburse you for lost wages, and you have the option to file a lawsuit if your coverage falls short of the full losses incurred.
For at-fault states, again using California as an example, drivers carry liability insurance. Liability insurance includes coverage for those who lost wages due to injuries, and so applies to:
- Your standard income
- Any overtime you were unable to fulfill
- Commission you were not able to collect
- Sick time and vacation
If you are self-employed, your wages will be covered as well. Any opportunities to earn money or gain employment that were lost during your recovery time are eligible to be compensated.
How to File a Claim for Your Lost Wages
As you are documenting all the standard evidence for the accident:
- Personal information of everyone involved
- What events led to the accident
- What was damaged
- Police report
- Medical records
You also need to keep detailed documentation of your employment as well. Make sure to record any hours missed and reduction in productivity (slower to produce goods due to injury) to provide a strong foundation for your case. Keep copies of paystubs as well for added detail.
Once you have all your evidence in line, you need to hire a reliable personal injury attorney. A quality attorney can advocate for you and act as the liaison between insurance companies, law enforcement, and medical professionals, all on your behalf. They will negotiate a settlement that works for your benefit rather than the insurers, and get you back on a healthy financial path. Do yourself a favor and reduce the stress of filing for compensation for lost wages by hiring an attorney as soon as possible.