Answered by Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Jordan Namerow
Getting lost wages paid after a car accident in Philadelphia depends on three questions:
- Who caused the accident?
- Are you covered under your own or a parent/spouse’s car insurance policy?
- Were you a pedestrian at the time of the accident?
The discussion below pertaining to Pennsylvania car accident law is for information only and is not legal advice. Only a lawyer can provide legal advice after reviewing all of the facts and legal issues which affect outcomes in a car accident case. Call our office to get a free consultation. (215) 985-0777
Who Caused the Accident?
Fault will determine whether you can recover financial losses from the other party. If the other party was at fault, you can seek compensation for your lost wages by filing a lawsuit against that other party. This is true regardless of the type of accident, i.e., car, truck, bike or pedestrian accident.
However, if you were at fault, then you wouldn’t be able to seek compensation from the other party. You’d be limited to any PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage under your own car insurance policy, which is discussed in the next section.
In some instances, fault might be shared. Let’s say you were speeding, but the other driver ran a red light. In this instance, you both may share fault. Under Pennsylvania law, as long as the other party/defendant bears at least 50% or more of the fault, you can still recover. If you bear any fault, it MUST be at or below 50%. If your fault is 51%, you are barred from recovering. If fault is shared, your recovery will be reduced by your share of fault. Let’s say your lost wages total $5,000 and you’re found 30% liable. The $5,000 in lost wages would be reduced by 30%.
Pennsylvania law is pretty complex when it comes to suing someone for injuries from a car accident. Limited tort law can restrict your ability to seek non-economic damages, i.e., financial compensation for pain and suffering. Limited tort is a type of car insurance policy which offers cheaper insurance rates in exchange for limitations on suing others for your injuries. However, this law doesn’t apply to pedestrians. So, if you were a pedestrian, you are able to seek compensation for pain and suffering without any limitations.
Are You Covered Under a Car Insurance Policy?
If you have your own car insurance policy or are covered under a parent or spouse’s policy, you’re eligible for PIP benefits. Under Pennsylvania law, every car insurance policy issued in this state must provide at least $5,000 of PIP benefits for medical treatment. PIP also covers things like lost wages, funeral expenses and home help costs. However, coverage for these other PIP benefits is optional. Unfortunately, to get lower premiums, many Pennsylvania residents choose the bare minimum PIP coverage ($5,000 of medical treatment). You will have to call your car insurance company to confirm coverage for lost wages. Even if you have this coverage, there are waiting periods and weekly maximums, per your policy.
Were You a Pedestrian?
If you were hit as a pedestrian, the rules are slightly different. As indicated above, if you were a pedestrian and someone hit you, you could sue for pain and suffering, in addition to your lost wages, medical bills and other out of pocket expenses that weren’t covered by PIP. If you’re eligible for PIP, you’d want to make a PIP claim as soon as possible, because the benefits are payable pretty quickly. Suing the at-fault driver would take months, if not a year or more.
If you were a pedestrian and have your own car insurance policy or are covered under someone else’s policy, you can make a PIP claim for lost wages, but only if you elected this coverage. If you don’t have a policy and aren’t covered under one, you may be eligible for PIP benefits under the policy of the driver or car that hit you.
Philadelphia Car Accident Law Firm – FREE CONSULTATIONS
Contact our Philadelphia law firm for help after a car or pedestrian accident. Our lawyers always strive to obtain the maximum benefits and compensation for our clients. (215) 985-0777