Will an Insurance Company Pay for Lost Wages After a Car Accident?

Auto insurance policies do have built-in provisions to cover lost wages for accident victims. Getting the compensation you deserve requires submitting documents such as pay stubs or business invoices. A Pittsburgh car accident attorney can advise you on how to file the proper forms.

The disastrous effects of lost earnings

Most of us were taught to save a little extra money for a rainy day. Unfortunately, many of us disregard this bit of advice. In fact, one study shows that millions of Americans are one paycheck away from poverty.

This presents an unsettling picture of auto accident victims. If one check is all that separates millions from destitution, what might be the effect of missing two or more paydays?

For that matter, what might a month of lost income mean for your household budget? This question is important to consider since studies show that the average auto accident victim misses 28 days of work after a crash.

Insurance can help

It’s for this reason that auto insurance policies include protection for lost wages. Compensation programs fall into three broad categories:

  1. Benefits offered by the at-fault party’s insurer: This is one reason why it’s important to exchange insurance information with the other person at the time of the wreck.
  2. Benefits offered by your policy’s uninsured/underinsured driver clause: Sometimes, the at-fault driver may not have insurance. Other times, they may flee the scene of the accident before the police arrive. In cases like these, uninsured driver protection can pay for itself many times over.
  3. Benefits offered by personal injury protection (PIP) coverage: This type of insurance applies to so-called “no-fault” states. If you carry this coverage, then you must file a claim with your own insurer, no matter who caused your accident. You’re only allowed to sue the other side if your injuries exceed a certain threshold set by state law.

If you don’t currently carry uninsured driver coverage, then we advise you to add it to your policy as soon as possible. The cost is usually quite reasonable, and especially when compared to the peace of mind you’ll receive.

Collecting your compensation

The first step is to file a request with the proper insurance company. In turn, the insurer will probably ask you to provide proof of your claim. Usually, this includes:

  1. A note from your employer verifying your lost work time: A signed statement from your supervisor should suffice.
  2. The results of a medical exam: It should list your injuries and include a recommendation from your doctor that you take time off from work.
  3. Proof of lost wages: This can include pay stubs or W-2 tax forms. Self-employed people may need to provide other forms of documentation, such as invoices or cashed checks from clients.

Special cases

Sometimes an auto accident reduces the victim’s ability to earn a living over the long term, perhaps as long as a lifetime. If you find yourself in that situation, then you may want to file a claim for lost earning capacity.

For example, let’s say that you’re a carpenter. Your job requires physical stamina as well as the ability to use hand tools. But the auto accident impaired your capacity to perform fine motor skills.

Since you can no longer practice your old trade, you may be eligible for a substantial amount of compensation.

Proving your claim may require extensive documentation, including statements from doctors or physical therapists.

How Pittsburgh car accident lawyers can help

Most auto accident victims have enough on their minds without worrying about legal matters. But choosing the right attorney requires knowing a little bit about the firm’s track record.

That’s why contacting us today makes so much sense. Our skilled attorneys have recovered more than $1 billion for their clients over the years. Get in touch with us today to arrange your free consultation. We’re available 24/7.