“Will insurance pay for my lost wages while I am hurt?” This is one of the most common questions we receive from clients who have been injured in a car accident. The short answer is yes, but not 100 percent and not without the insurer making you jump through some hoops first. Here are a few basics to remember if you will be missing out on wages due to injuries sustained in a car accident:
Seek Treatment and Be Honest About What Hurts
In order to receive any money to cover your lost wages and/or to be temporarily relieved from job duties that are beyond your current capabilities, you will need to seek medical treatment and receive a doctor’s note excusing you from work due to your injuries. It is therefore extremely important that you go to the doctor and be completely open and honest about your pain and injuries. The doctor will determine what limitations or restrictions have resulted from the injuries you sustained in the car accident. Make sure to get a copy of these restrictions before you go home to recover.
Wage Loss Calculations
Calculating wage loss can be a tricky and complicated process. Generally, Minnesota’s No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act requires an insurer to pay 85 percent of present and future income loss, up to a maximum of $500 per week. However, the calculation can become difficult when the injured person is self-employed, unemployed, or receiving other types of benefits. It is therefore important to seek legal assistance when calculating your potential wage loss recovery. You will also need to provide documentation to the insurance company proving what your earnings were before the accident.
Priority of Coverage
In Minnesota, under the No-Fault Act, there is a priority system to determine coverage for monetary losses such as wage loss. The priority is as follows:
If you own an insured vehicle in Minnesota, your auto insurance must pay.
If you are injured in a car accident and you own and insure a vehicle, your auto insurance must pay for medical bills and wage loss. This is true even if you were in someone else’s vehicle at the time of the accident.
If you do not own or insure a vehicle, things get more complicated.
If you do not have your own auto insurance, your wage loss will be paid by another insurance policy, but which one depends on the facts of your particular situation.
If you do not own or insure a vehicle, but you share a residence with a relative who does, then the auto insurance that covers that relative’s vehicle covers your wage loss.
If you don’t have auto insurance and do not live with a relative, then the insurance company of the vehicle you were in at the time of the accident covers your wage loss.
If you were injured in an uninsured vehicle and are not covered by any of the previous priorities, then you may receive coverage through the Minnesota Assigned Claims Bureau. The Bureau may assign you coverage if you meet certain conditions.
If you own a vehicle but do not insure it, then you may not qualify for any benefits under the No-Fault Act.
For help navigating a car accident, dealing with insurance companies, and getting the full financial recovery that you are entitled to, please call our office at 651-493-0426 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.