When Pennsylvania drivers/passengers are injured in car, truck or bus accidents caused by negligent drivers, they often sustain injuries. If they are lucky, their injuries are minor, and their lives are not significantly affected. For others unfortunately, they may sustain serious catastrophic injuries which significantly affect their daily lives.
When PA drivers/passengers are seriously injured, they are most likely not able to work for periods of time.
One of the damages that injured drivers/passengers may receive from at-fault drivers is lost wages. This includes past and future earnings. However, what most injured drivers/passengers do not know is that they may be able to recover their lost wages through their own car insurance companies first.
Recovering Lost Wages From Your Own Auto Insurance Policy
Pursuant to Pennsylvania's Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL), first-party or PIP benefits coverage in PA motor vehicle insurance policies may include income loss benefits. It is important to note that this benefit is not mandatory. Therefore, the insured must purchase income loss benefits as an optional benefit.
There are however, some limitations as to what the injured driver may recover. For example, income loss benefits only cover 80% of actual loss of gross income. For other limitations, see Does PA First Party Or PIP Benefits Offer Benefits Other Than Medical Benefits?
Recovering Lost Wages From The At-Fault Driver
In addition to recovering lost wages from the driver's own insurance company, the injured driver may recover lost wage damages from the at-fault driver in a PA car accident lawsuit. For example, if the injured driver's weekly gross income is $400, he would get 80% of that amount or $320. He can then recover the remaining 20% or $80 from the at-fault driver in the lawsuit. He cannot recover $400 because that would be double dipping. The injured driver can only try to recover $400 in lost wages from the at-fault driver if he does not have income loss benefits.
If the end result is the same, i.e., an injured driver will get a total of $400 either from the driver alone or from the driver and loss income benefits, many drivers may wonder why get the loss income coverage at all? The answer is that the injured driver is likely to receive his lost wages from his insurance company much faster than from a lawsuit.
A simple car accident lawsuit can take 1 year or even 2 years to resolve. If the driver has income benefits, his claim will generally be approved much faster than the time it takes to resolve a lawsuit. This can make a huge difference financially for the injured driver.
Call Daniel J. O'Brien to schedule a FREE consultation. Mr. O'Brien and his team have helped countless PA car accident victims recover financial compensation. 877.944.8396