If you’re in a car wreck, that might shake you up. However, if you’re lucky, you may walk away unscathed. What can you do if a car wreck hurts you, though, and you’re sure you can blame the other driver?
In these situations, suing the at-fault driver sometimes becomes necessary. You must hire a competent lawyer and see whether they can get you a legal victory. You should also see whether you can get back your lost wages if you can’t do your job while recovering.
Collecting lost wages following vehicle collisions isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary. You need that money, particularly if you don’t have much cash put away in a rainy-day fund. You’ll likely have medical bills and other expenses, and those can pile up fast.
How can you get maximum compensation for lost wages after a car wreck? We’ll take some time to discuss that right now.
What State You’re in Matters
First, you must consider what state you’re in. Various states have different rules regarding lost wage compensation after car wrecks. Your lawyer can help you in this area if you’ve hired one. They should know all about this type of thing from previous cases.
In New York, drivers must have PIP, or personal injury protection insurance. However, this is not the case in all states.
In New York, you can use this insurance when you’re getting compensation for your lost wages after a car wreck. You can get either 80% of your monthly earnings or up to $2,000 monthly, whichever is less. You can continue getting that for up to three years after a car crash unless you can return to work in the meantime.
Let us say a driver hit your car in Oregon instead. There, you can go after an at-fault driver and get wage compensation from them. In other words, Oregon has at-fault state status.
Whether your state considers itself fault or no-fault matters when you go after a driver who hit your vehicle, as your lawyer will certainly tell you.
Recovering Lost Wages in At-Fault States
In some ways, collecting money for your lost wages following a car wreck in a no-fault state becomes simpler. If it does not matter whether you or the other driver caused the wreck, then your insurance will cover most of your lost wages, though not all of them, as we saw in New York’s case. Maybe you can’t get back 100% of wages lost in these instances, but you know you’ll get most of your money, whether you or the other driver caused the accident.
To maximize lost wages following car wrecks in at-fault states, you must do more leg work. For starters, you must prove the other driver caused the accident. You can do that in various ways. Your lawyer can help you out in this area as well.
You must prove the other driver hit you and you didn’t cause the wreck. If you have a dashboard camera that caught the accident, you can present that as evidence in court if you sue the other driver. You can also present the police report that you filed after the wreck. It should have details indicating what happened.
Your lawyer might have an investigator on their payroll. This individual can find witnesses who saw the crash. They might track down smartphone footage someone took, or maybe they will find camera footage from a store. Traffic camera footage can also reveal what happened.
How Else Can You Maximize Lost Wage Recovery Following an Accident?
In Oregon, drivers must have minimum insurance amounts to drive legally. If they don’t have the right insurance, they shouldn’t ever get behind the wheel.
Ironically, you might get more money from them if they don’t have the proper insurance coverage. That’s because this demonstrates negligence on their part, and a jury might regard that harshly. An Oregon driver who doesn’t have PIP insurance, uninsured motorist insurance, PDL insurance, and BIL insurance shouldn’t drive.
What About Limitations on What You Can Collect?
Let’s continue using Oregon as an example. Assuming the other party hits your car there, you can use your PIP policy and get up to 70% of your lost wages.
You can only get that money if you miss at least 14 days of work, though. Also, you can only get up to $3,000 per month. Again, these policies vary in each state, so you must check how your state handles these matters. Your lawyer can assist you.
What About If You Exceed the Normal Injury Policy Limits?
When you exceed the normal injury policy limits but still have outstanding bills, you must go after the at-fault party in court. The mandatory insurance you have as a driver will help you, but it sometimes can’t cover all of your expenditures following an accident.
Then, you must prove negligence in court to get as much money from the at-fault party as possible. Your lawyer can help with this as well. If they can establish the other driver drove drunk, they exceeded the speed limit when they hit you, they let their smartphone distract them while driving, or something similar, expect financial dividends as a result.
To sum up, what state you’re in matters when a car hits your vehicle since that will determine how you should proceed in the aftermath. You should have some insurance policies in place that can help you get back some lost wages, though usually not 100% of them.
If the insurance policies you have in place come up far short of what you’re paying for doctor bills and other expenses, you can sue the other driver. In at-fault states, you can maximize what you’ll get from that driver if you have a skilled attorney, and they can prove negligence or depraved indifference by the individual who hit your car. That’s how you can get back as much money as possible in these difficult situations.