If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident in New York, chances are you may not be able to work for some time. Medical bills can quickly get expensive, and if you aren’t able to earn an income while you recover, you could quickly sink into medical debt.
One common question we hear from car accident clients is whether they can seek compensation for lost wages. At Finz & Finz, P.C., our team of experienced car accident attorneys is here to help you understand your rights and what types of compensation you may be eligible to recover.
Contact our attorneys today for a free, no-risk consultation to discuss the details of your case.
Why Should I Hire A Lawyer If I Am Unable to Work?
If you’re unable to work due to your injuries, the good news is that you can recover compensation for lost wages under New York’s no-fault insurance laws. However, doing so can still be challenging.
If you make a single tiny error on your insurance claim, the insurance company may use that as an excuse to deny your claim, even if it’s legitimate. Insurance companies are for-profit entities, and their loyalty is to their shareholders, not their policyholders. Their goal is to pay out as little as possible.
An experienced car accident attorney will have the resources to conduct a full investigation of the accident, gather evidence to bolster your claim, handle your insurance paperwork, document and calculate damages for medical expenses and lost wages, and even negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
You shouldn’t have to battle it out with an insurance adjuster while trying to focus on your recovery. An attorney can handle every aspect of your case for you while you focus on regaining your health.
Where Can I Recover Compensation For Lost Wages?
Depending on the circumstances of the crash, you may be able to recover compensation from three main entities:
- Your no-fault insurance policy
- The at-fault driver’s insurance policy
- Workers’ compensation insurance
New York is a no-fault insurance state. This means that when a car accident occurs, individuals involved in the accident will typically turn to their own insurance policies to pay for financial losses resulting from the accident. Specifically, you could use no-fault insurance to pay for medical expenses and lost wages, as well as $25 per day for other necessary expenses for up to one year after the accident.
However, there are limits to no-fault insurance coverage. For instance, no-fault insurance will only cover 80% of your lost wages. Reimbursement for lost wages is also capped at $2,000 per month, and you can only collect compensation for up to three years. Depending on the severity of your injuries, your medical expenses alone could exceed your policy limit, which would mean you wouldn’t be reimbursed for lost wages.
Filing a no-fault insurance claim is complicated. That’s why it’s imperative that you consult an attorney beforehand to ensure that all of your paperwork is in order.
The At-Fault Party’s Insurance Policy
Suppose your no-fault policy doesn’t completely cover your medical expenses and lost wages. In that case, you could file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy if you meet specific criteria. In New York, you can step outside the no-fault insurance system if you sustained a severe injury.
In New York, a serious injury is defined as:
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- A fracture
- A significant limitation of use of a body system or function
- Permanent loss of a body organ, function, member, or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- A medically determined, non-permanent injury or impairment that prevents someone from performing normal daily activities for at least 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the accident
If you sustained a severe injury, then you could be entitled to file a claim against the at-fault driver, which would allow you to recover additional compensation in addition to medical expenses and lost wages, such as:
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering, such as emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and post-traumatic stress disorder
Non-financial losses such as pain and suffering are trickier to calculate, so it’s advisable to get an attorney involved if you plan to file against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
If you were injured in a car accident on the job, then you could be reimbursed for lost wages through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. While you cannot perform your job duties, workers’ compensation benefits would replace roughly two-thirds of your regular wages. However, obtaining workers’ compensation benefits isn’t always straightforward. An attorney can help expedite the process and ensure that you’re aware of your rights.
What Types of Lost Earnings Can I Be Compensated For?
When you think of lost earnings, you probably think of your wages. But you can be reimbursed for other types of earnings in addition to your wages.
You could be compensated for:
- Paid time off or sick days you used during your recovery
- Other necessary expenses for certain services
Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. Today
If you were injured in a car accident and suffered lost earnings as a result, our attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure that you are appropriately reimbursed. We have the skills and experience to help you with your no-fault insurance claim. If you sustained a severe injury, we also have what it takes to help you seek justice. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. today at 855-TOP-FIRM or reach out to us online for a free consultation.