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I was injured in a car accident in PA and can't work. If I sue, can I recover my lost wages? Can the driver pay for my wage loss before the case settles?

 

A:

Yes, you can sue to recover your lost wages; however, you will not receive your lost wages until the case settles.

In a PA car accident lawsuit, the injured party can recover the following damages:

  • past/future lost wages,
  • past/future medical expenses,
  • pain and suffering, and
  • out of pocket expenses.

All the damages are assessed together.  An injured party will not receive financial damages until after the case settles, whether it is through negotiations, arbitration, mediation or trial.

If a settlement can be reached through negotiations between the parties prior to filing suit, the injured party will receive the settlement amount much faster than if the case settles at trial.

A simple car accident lawsuit can take anywhere between 1 to 2 years to settle depending on the facts and circumstances of the accident. 

It is understandable for injured parties who cannot work after a car accident to feel overwhelmed and helpless because they have no financial income.

However, you may be able to recover some of your lost wages through your own car insurance policy.  PA auto insurance companies are required to offer drivers optional PIP or first party benefits.  One of the optional PIP benefits is loss income benefits.  You may have bought the loss income benefits.  You need to check your insurance policy or call your insurance agent to find out if you bought this coverage.

If you did buy this coverage, you may be covered up to at least $2,500 per month up to a maximum of at least $50,000.  The amount may be higher depending on what you bought.

However, there are some limitations.  First, if eligible, there is a mandatory waiting period; you will not be able to file a claim for lost income until you are not able to work for 5 days. 

Second, income loss benefits do not pay 100% of your lost income.  It only pays 80% of your gross income.

There are other limitations.  For a detailed discussion about these other limitations, see Does PA First Party Or PIP Benefits Offer Benefits Other Than Medical Benefits?

Since loss income benefits do not compensate 100% of your lost wages, you may recover the difference from the at-fault driver through a PA car accident lawsuit.

Therefore, if you do not have loss income benefits, your lost wages would be part of your economic damages resulting from the car accident.

If you would like to discuss your case further, feel free to give me a call at 877.944.8396.


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