How To Cover Lost Wages Through Car Insurance
How to Recoup Lost Wages Following an Auto Accident
First, check your current auto insurance policy to see if you're covered for lost wages. If yes, use it. File a lost wages claim.
If, however, you're not covered for lost wages, you'll need to recoup your lost income from the at-fault driver's insurance company. This will require filing a claim and providing employment and medical documentation of personal injury.
This requires a letter from your boss or manager documenting your hourly wages, how much time you missed from work and, if applicable, the company's employee compensation rate. The letter should include the company letterhead. Some car insurance companies may instead provide you with an employment authorization form. Be sure that your employer not only provides lost wages information, but also any possible bonuses you may have missed due to missed time at work.
After submitting the letter or form, you'll want to alert your employer that, in all likelihood, the insurance company will send one of its claims adjusters to the workplace for additional information.
The documentation process will be more difficult if you're self-employed or work as an independent contractor. To verify your claim you may instead be asked to provide past federal income tax returns.
Your presiding physician will need to complete a medical authorization form. The insurance company should provide you with this document. If you don't receive one, contact the insurance company.
Be sure to read the form in detail. By signing it, you, in most cases, will give the insurance company complete access to ALL of your medical records―not just the medical records pertaining to your car accident injuries, but to your lifelong medical history.
If you feel uncomfortable granting the claims adjuster complete access to your medical history, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer. If you go this route, be sure that the lawyer you hire understands your case. Be explicit in explaining that your case is not just about car damage and medical costs, but also about lost wages.
The Lost Wages Claims Process
Unfortunately, lost wage claims aren't as clear cut as accident claims for car damage. Depending on your situation, it may take weeks, or even months, to receive compensation, if at all.
During the entire process you'll be dealing with a claims adjuster who will try to limit your compensation. Don't take this personally. It's what claims adjusters are paid to do. It simply means you need to be as prepared as possible.
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