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Can You Seek Lost Wages After an Auto Accident in Pennsylvania?

If you have been involved in a car accident and have needed to miss work, then something you may want to know is how you can recoup those losses. You may be down thousands of dollars in missed income due to the auto collision, and it’s fair to want that money back in your pocket.

The thing to remember is that you can claim for lost wages when you pursue a personal injury claim against an at-fault driver. You’ll want to keep track of how much money you have lost based on your average wages and submit those losses to the other party’s insurance carrier. If they don’t have insurance, then you’ll need to take the records of your lost wages to court or seek them back from your own insurance policy if it covers under or uninsured drivers.

What kinds of policies will cover lost wages?

Not all insurance policies will necessarily cover your lost wages. However, there are three types that normally do. These include:

  • Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which is used in no-fault states. Pennsylvania is unique because it offers the choice of being no-fault or retaining some ability to sue the other driver when they’re at fault.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which is a rider on your own care insurance plan that will cover losses when the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance or any insurance at all.
  • Liability bodily injury coverage, which is carried by the other driver. You can make a claim against them in some cases for your lost wages through this policy.

Before you’ll be able to get any kind of compensation, you may be asked to go through an independent medical examination and submit medical documents that describe your injury. By doing this, an insurance company can get a better idea of how your injuries have affected you as well as how much time off work is necessary. Your employer should also fill out any appropriate documents to submit to the insurance company, which is something your attorney can assist with to make sure the documents are accurate and helpful to your claim.

What if your car accident affects your income?

Car accidents clearly affect your life from the moment they happen. This is true even when just your car is damaged, but especially so when you suffer injuries. You may need to spend time in the hospital recovering and healing. Even after getting released, you may need more recovery time at home. It only takes a split second for another driver to cause a crash, but you could be paying for it for weeks.

But what if your injuries are more than a short-term issue? What if that car accident causes you to lose your job?

Maybe you worked in the construction industry, for instance, doing manual labor. You were in great shape and you needed to be. After the accident, though, you ended up with lasting hip pain and reduced mobility. You could no longer do the physical jobs you used to do, and you were much slower at the jobs you could accomplish. Eventually, your employer told you that they felt bad for you, but they had to replace you with someone else who could actually do the work.

In this way, your motor vehicle accident has now massively impacted your current earnings and your future earnings potential. You may be able to find another job to replace the one you had, but there are a lot of questions. How many paychecks will you miss? How much does the new job pay? Do you even have skills that translate into a new industry that you never planned to work in?

Understanding your right to seek future lost income

If you don’t work but are involved in a crash that will prevent you from working, can you seek that lost potential income? It could be harder to quantify, but the simple answer is that you can try to seek out any lost income that comes from missed job opportunities or the inability to work in the future.

For example, if you are 18 when you get into a debilitating collision, you might just have started your job search. Alternatively, you may have been in school or starting to study for a lucrative career.

If that crash hinders you from finishing school or going on to join the career in the field you were applying to, then you may be able to seek compensation for the lost income that you have not yet earned.

Lost earning capacity matters in crashes

Sometimes, people do claim for lost earning capacity. That said, it can be difficult to prove how much you might have earned, so there could be some specialized accounting needed before a reasonable amount of compensation can be determined.

On top of having to figure out how much you might have earned in the future, you will also need to look at your injuries and consider if there is a different job you could train for or if you may eventually recover enough to work.

Will you need medical examinations?

It’s possible that you could have to go through multiple medical exams, including an independent medical exam, or IME, if you are badly hurt in a crash and are seeking high monetary payments for what you’ve been through.

An IME basically makes sure that you are injured as badly as you and your doctors have claimed. It’s helpful to know what to expect during this examination, because the insurance company could use this exam to try to question your claim. If you’re injured badly or going to the exam would cause an undue burden, it’s possible that it could be avoided.

This is a difficult situation, but you will get through it. You can seek fair compensation, and that could include any future wages you’ve lost out on because of missing work, missing job interviews or being unable to complete your degree due to your injuries.

When you’re facing these types of post-accident financial issues, it is important to know how you can seek compensation. Contact our Easton car accident attorneys today!

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