Can I Be Reimbursed for Lost Wages After an Ocala Car Accident?
Bill Allen | October 26, 2022 | Car Accidents
Getting back on your feet physically and financially can be difficult after an Ocala car accident. However, filing an insurance claim for lost wages can help you get back on track. In Florida, you can file a lost wages claim with your PIP insurance provider and possibly against the person who caused the car crash.
Filing a No-Fault Insurance Claim for Lost Wages After an Ocala Car Accident
Florida requires all drivers to have a minimum amount of no-fault insurance or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. No-fault insurance pays benefits regardless of who caused the accident. You do not need to prove fault or negligence to receive benefits.
Under Florida’s insurance laws, PIP pays only 60% of your lost wages after a car accident. However, if the accident was not your fault, you might be able to file a claim for full reimbursement of all loss of income.
Filing a Liability Insurance Claim for Lost Wages After an Ocala Car Accident
Florida does not require drivers to have liability car insurance since it is a no-fault insurance state. However, many drivers purchase optional liability insurance coverage. Liability insurance pays accident victims for damages when an insured driver causes a car wreck.
However, you must have sustained serious injuries or exceeded your PIP policy limits to file a claim against the at-fault driver. Florida statutes define “serious injury” as a permanent impairment or injury. Wrongful death also qualifies as a “serious injury” for liability insurance claims.
If you sustained a serious injury, you could receive reimbursement for all loss of income.
Loss of income includes, but is not limited to:
- Overtime compensation
- Self-employment income
- Freelance income
- Income from side jobs or second jobs
Additionally, you can receive compensation for the benefits you would have received had you not been injured. Benefits could include paid time off, vacation time, and matching retirement funds. If you sustain permanent impairments, you might also be entitled to compensation for diminished earning capacity and future lost wages.
In addition to economic damages such as lost wages and medical bills, you can also claim non-economic damages when you file a liability insurance claim.
- Emotional distress
- Physical discomfort
- Loss of quality of life and enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Disfigurement, impairment, and scarring
If the at-fault driver did not have liability insurance, you could sue them if you sustained serious injuries. However, filing a personal injury lawsuit can be risky. There is no guarantee that the jury will rule in your favor or that you will ever collect on a judgment.
Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim for Loss of Income
Uninsured motorist coverage is an optional insurance policy you can purchase in addition to your car insurance coverage. This type of car insurance compensates you for damages if an uninsured driver causes an accident. Filing a claim might be a way to recover more of the income you lost because of a negligent driver.
How Do You Prove Loss of Income After an Ocala Car Accident?
There are a few steps you must take if you intend to collect lost wages for a car accident in a personal injury claim. First, you must prove negligence.
Negligence is the failure to act with reasonable care to avoid harming another person.
The four legal elements of a negligence claim are:
- Duty of Care – The driver owed you a duty of care (all drivers have a duty of care to obey Florida traffic laws and take reasonable care to avoid accidents)
- Breach of Duty – The driver’s conduct breached their duty of care (i.e., they ran a red light or made an illegal lane change)
- Causation – The driver’s conduct was the direct and proximate cause of the accident and your injuries
- Damages – You sustained damages and harm because of the driver’s conduct
If you cannot prove negligence, you cannot recover money for lost wages or other damages.
After proving negligence, you must prove that you are entitled to compensation for lost wages.
In other words, you must prove the following:
- The accident caused injuries;
- Those injuries prevented you from working; and
- As a result, you lost income and benefits.
A doctor’s statement verifying your injuries that restricted your work is typically required for a lost wage claim. You must also prove how much money you would have earned had you been able to work. A letter from your employer, copies of wage statements, and other proof of income are types of evidence used to prove a lost wages claim.
Florida insurance laws can be confusing. Insurance companies might use tactics and procedures meant to undervalue valid claims. You have the right to seek legal advice about your claim before you speak with an insurance adjuster or sign a settlement agreement or release of claims.
Contact Our Ocala Car Accident Law Firm in North Central Florida
If you need legal assistance, contact the Ocala car accident lawyers at Allen Law Firm at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We have three convenient locations in North Central Florida: