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Getting injured in a car accident can be physically, emotionally and financially debilitating. One main concern an injured person can have is the time off of work required to recover from their injury. Those weeks or months a person may need to take off from work are crucial to a person’s financial stability. However, whether you are a bicyclist, a pedestrian, a driver or a passenger in a vehicle; you are eligible to receive lost wages through No-Fault insurance coverage while you recover from your injury.
The No-Fault Law was created to pay for medical costs and lost wages for someone who’s been injured in a car accident regardless of who is at fault for the accident. This quickens the process of a person getting the immediate financial coverage needed to prevent financially crippling a person after an accident. Rather than having a lawsuit every time there is a car accident, injured people in the state of New York can have a portion of their salary paid for regardless of whether or not they are at fault. New York is 1 of only 12 states that uses No-Fault laws.
>To receive these lost wages covered by No-Fault, you’ll have to send your insurance company proof of employment (wage verification) and proof from a doctor that you are unable to work due to the injury resulting from the accident. If you are self-employed, insurance companies generally ask for tax returns spanning back 2-3 years or bank statements to provide proof of employment.
No-Fault will cover up to $50,000 in medical expenses and lost wages until that amount of coverage is exhausted. For lost wages, No-Fault will pay 80% of your income, but only up to $2,000 a month. For many New Yorkers, that coverage is not enough. Many of us, especially on Long Island, need more than $2000 a month to keep up with our expenses.
Sometimes it can be really difficult to receive that No-Fault coverage from your insurance companies. You only have 30 days from the time of the accident to make a claim for No-Fault coverage. Additionally, there is a lot of paperwork that they may send your way for you to receive the compensation. One incomplete form or one missed doctor’s appointment gives the insurance company grounds to deny your claim. This of course would ultimately save them money. That’s why it’s so important to consult with a lawyer who handles No-Fault insurance so they can stay on top of the paperwork needed to get that coverage.
The No-Fault coverage of $50,000 can be far from enough to pay for all of your medical bills and lost wages, especially if you are seriously injured. Medical bills can take up a large portion of that money, so an injury with a long recovery will exhaust that $50,000 before a person can return to work.
Another solution could be if you meet New York State’s threshold for having a “Serious Injury”. If you are considered to have a serious injury, you become able to make a claim against the insurance company of the person who was at-fault for the accident to reimburse all of your losses from the injury with their Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) coverage. This includes all of your lost wages, medical bills, home modifications and even emotional impacts such as pain and suffering.
Therefore, there are ways to be compensated for lost income that exceeds the No-Fault coverage limit of $2,000 per month. An experienced personal injury attorney can help make sure you’re compensated for the total amount of your losses.
If you don’t have an employment contract, employers are not legally required to keep you employed while you are out on disability recovering from your injury. Therefore, you might think it would be best to return to work as soon as you think you are ready. Keep in mind, this can present several issues. If you truly believe you are ready to return to work, it is best to check with your doctor first. The reason being is that once you go back to work, you will stop being reimbursed for lost wages from No-Fault. So, if you return and are not able to perform, you will have to start over with the insurance company to restart your lost wages.
Dealing with an injury can be particularly overwhelming, and it’s frustrating when it wasn’t even your fault. That’s why experienced personal injury law firms go out of their way to help others when they are faced with a serious injury. An experienced lawyer will help you regain your financial losses and help you with the potential obstacles that go along with it.
Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.
His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.