You were injured in an accident. You had to take time off work, so you lost income or benefits. Now you need to find a way to cover that lost income so you can pay your bills and take care of your family.
Eventually, when you settle the case with the at fault party, you can recover your lost income and benefits as well as medical and auto repair expenses. However, that might be months down the road.
In the meantime, what can you do to cover lost wages?
The reality is that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. When that paycheck stops, panic can easily set in.
The good news is that, if you have been working, you can generally cover at least some lost income by using benefits through your employer, such as:
With a doctor’s note, you can use a sick time or vacation time benefit for any time lost at work. Don’t make the mistake of simply staying home from work because you don’t feel well after an accident. Review the blog article “Losing work after an accident” for details about what you must do. Without this required documentation from your doctor, you cannot make any claims or recover lost earnings.
When you settle case, you are entitled to recover earnings for the time that you missed—and that includes sick time or vacation time that you took, plus any other benefits that may have accrued. After all, those are benefits you otherwise would not have used if you had not been involved in a collision.
If injuries require you to be off work for more than a week or so, you may be able to access short- or long-term disability benefits from your employer. Any rules for such disability apply outside of any automobile insurance coverage.
Whether or not you have any employer benefits, you can immediately access the PIP coverage you purchased with your automobile insurance.
PIP coverage is no-fault insurance, so you get that benefit from your own insurance company (not the insurance company for the at-fault party).
Under Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage for your auto insurance, you can file a claim with your own insurance provider for lost wages when you miss work due to injuries sustained in an accident. This is referred to as an “income continuation benefit” in your insurance policy.
NOTE: Income continuation is meant only as a substitute for wages not earned because you were injured in an accident.
If you need to contact your employer for details about benefits information or forms, remember that our office can help. We can review details of your coverage and help coordinate benefits, and assist with documentation and any forms that must be filed.