Do insurance companies pay for lost wages?
If you were hurt in a car accident caused by another driver, and are unable to work due to the seriousness of your injuries, will the insurance company pay for your lost wages? Extended time missed from work can put additional financial hardships on victims, and you may be wondering if and how you can get reimbursed for weeks or even months of missed paychecks.
Some auto insurance policies do provide coverage for lost wages while you recover. However, this will depend on the type of coverage you purchased and whether you can provide sufficient evidence of your lost wages. Even in the best scenarios, insurance companies are rarely forthcoming when it comes to timely payouts. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can increase your chances of reclaiming the income you lost after an auto accident.
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Claiming lost wages after an accident
California is a fault state when it comes to accident claims and auto insurance. In the event that you were injured by another motorist, you would file a claim for lost income through their insurance company, providing the other driver was at fault for the collision. In California, all drivers are legally obligated to carry minimum liability insurance coverage that includes $15,000 in bodily injury per person. This bodily injury policy is designed to reimburse for associated medical bills and lost wages incurred by other people.
When seeking “lost wages” in a car accident claim, you are seeking all monies that you would have earned if you had not been injured in a collision.
Lost wages generally include:
- Your regular income (whether salary or hourly)
- Overtime pay
- Bonuses and commission
- Sick and vacation pay
- Self-employment wages
- Missed employment opportunities while you were recovering
It’s important to note that some auto insurance policies have waivers that specifically exclude payment for lost wages. In these circumstances, you may need to file claim through your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP covers medical expenses and up to 60 percent of your lost wages for you and your occupants (up to your policy limits), regardless of who was to blame for the crash.
How to prove your lost income
The insurance company will require extensive documentation to prove your lost wages. Before filing a claim, ensure that you gather the following:
- Letter from your doctor documenting your injuries, and explaining how long these injuries have kept you from meaningful employment.
- Letter from your place of employment stating the dates you have missed work while recovering from your car accident injuries
- Past paystubs or bank statements showing direct deposits
Wage verification form completed by your employer
- Copy of your tax returns if you are self-employed
Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to work with, and will attempt to pay you as little as possible. If they dispute your lost wage benefits, you will likely need one of the expert car accident lawyers at Ellis Law to help recover the damages you rightfully deserve.
Legal help recovering lost income
In accidents resulting in severe, disabling injuries that cannot be resolved through insurance settlements, your attorney may recommend pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Plaintiffs can demand both lost wages and loss of future earning capacity as part of their compensatory damages. Compensation procured through litigation can relieve the financial burdens placed on victims of car accidents who are unable to work for long periods of time.
If you are uncertain about your rights to lost wage benefits after an accident, contact a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer at Ellis Law.
Free, no-obligation obligation for car accident victims
Having a professional legal advocate in your corner can save you time, hassle and money. Obtaining damages for your lost wages in an injury settlement can be challenging at times. Put your faith in an award-winning law firm that has won over $350 million for clients. We are skilled negotiators, and know how to maximize the value of your car accident claim.
For more information about your case, please call or contact Ellis Law for a complimentary case review today.