Lost wages often occur after a car accident. Sometimes it may be a few days of missed work, but sometimes a car accident can cause a person to miss weeks or months because of injuries sustained in the crash. How does someone who sustained lost wages because of a car accident get reimbursed for their lost income?
Lost Wages Under PIP After A Car Accident
Presently, it is Florida law that every vehicle owner must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits on their automobile insurance policy. These benefits are paid without the necessity of determining who was at fault for the car accident (hence why they are sometimes referred to as “No-Fault Benefits). Under Florida Statute 627.736, PIP benefits include payment of medical expenses and lost wages. However, they do not pay 100% of the lost wages. Florida Statute 627.736(1)(b) states as this coverage pays “Sixty percent of any loss of gross income and loss of earning capacity per individual from inability to work proximately caused by the injury sustained by the injured person.” These benefits must be paid every two weeks. However, what about the remaining 40% of lost wages? The remaining 40% of the loss of income must be sought from the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability coverage or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Before the PIP carrier is responsible for paying lost wages, the injured person is required to provide two documents: (1) a 13-week wage statement completed by their employer outlining the wages earned prior to the car accident; and (2) documentation from a medical provider putting the injured person off of work. Once the PIP carrier has these two documents, lost wages should be paid the PIP carrier.
It is important to note that the PIP carrier only has to pay a total of $10,000.00 in medical bills and lost wages combined. An emergency room visit with testing would likely exceed $10,000, leaving no PIP benefits available for the payment of lost wages.
PIP Scenarios For Payment of Lost Wages
1. If you own a vehicle and were in your vehicle when you were injured in the car accident. This is the easiest scenario to understanding. If these are the facts, your car insurance is required to pay your lost wages as outlines above (as long as there are benefits remaining).
2. A little more difficult to understand is you do not own a vehicle when you are injured in the car accident. In this scenario, the car insurance on the vehicle that you occupied would be responsible for your lost wages (and other PIP benefits). If you were a passenger and the driver of the car caused the car accident, you would be able to make a claim under the driver’s bodily injury liability coverage as well as making the PIP claim.
3. The one that most people don’t think is right is when you own a vehicle but were not in your vehicle when you were injured in a car accident. In this scenario, even though your car was parked in the driveway at the time of the automobile accident, your personal car insurance would be responsible to pay your lost income.
Lost Wages Not Paid By PIP
If you are involved in a car accident and suffered loss income, you have a right to hold the at-fault driver responsible for your total lost wages. This means that if a PIP carrier paid some of the lost wages, then the at-fault driver’s insurance company would only be responsible to pay the difference. If PIP did not pay loss income because the benefits were exhausted with the payment of medical expenses, then the at-fault driver would be responsible for 100% of the lost wages.
Most times, the at-fault driver does not willingly pay for the lost wages. Often an attorney is needed to secure the payment of these damages. Despite what others may tell you, a permanent injury is not required for the payment of past or future lost wages.
If you have questions regarding your lost wages after a car accident or are having difficulty getting the at-fault driver to be accountable for the damages they caused, contact Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes. Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured in car accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other types of personal injury matters. He is a named partner at the Tampa Bay law firm of Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or complete the form on this page or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.