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How Do I Get My Lost Wages After an Accident?

handing a check for lost wages after an accident

Our paychecks cover our mortgages, rent, groceries, insurance, and more. Imagine suddenly not having income. Could you pay your bills?

Unfortunately, if you were seriously injured in an accident, you probably don't have to imagine. The piles of bills may be a reality, and your financial situation may be causing as much stress as your injuries – possibly even more.

If you're wondering how to make up for your lost wages, here are a few options to consider. Keep in mind that your options depend on the type of accident you had, who is at fault, and other details.

Ways to Make Up for Your Lost Wages

If you missed work after a car accident…

Income Loss coverage – This type of coverage is optional in Pennsylvania. If you have Income Loss coverage on your policy, your insurance company will pay 80% of your lost income after the first 5 days of work you miss.

If you missed work after an injury in the workplace…

Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation – Under Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation law, you must be off work and under a doctor's care for at least 14 work days to be eligible to receive lost wages payments for the first 7 days you missed. You must file an incident report with your employer and work with your employer's insurance company to receive Workers' Compensation benefits. You may need to see a company doctor.

You can collect a portion of your gross weekly wages if you can't work at all due to your injury or work-related disease. The amount you receive is based on the amount you make per week (on average).

  • You receive up to $917 per week in 2013. If you earn over $1,375.51 per week, your compensation for lost wages will be capped at $917.
  • If you make between $687.76 and $1,375.50 per week — you will receive 66% (two-thirds) of your average weekly wage.
  • If you make between $509.44 and $687.75 per week — you will receive $458.50 per week.
  • If you make $509.43 per week or less — you will receive 90% of your average weekly wage.

Partial Disability

If you are able to return to a "light duty" assignment that pays less than your previous position, you can collect partial disability. Pennsylvania's workers' compensation program says that you can collect two-thirds of the difference of the two salaries for a maximum of 500 weeks (9.5 years).

For example:

  • You made $500/week at your job before your injury.
  • After feeling better, you were offered a "light duty" position that paid $400/week.
  • Your workers' compensation would pay two-thirds (66%) of that difference between your original pay ($500) and your light duty pay ($400).
  • In other words, workers' compensation would give you two-thirds of $100 ($66).That means you would end up making the sum of $466/week for your light duty assignment with Partial Disability for workers' compensation added.

If you were denied Workers' Compensation, contact our law firm for help. We'll fight to get you the compensation you need to pay your bills and make up for the missed work time.

If you suffered an injury that caused permanent damage or will last at least a year…

Social Security disability benefits – If your injury caused permanent damage or will last at least a year and prevents you from working full time, you may be eligible to collect Social Security disability (SSD) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To qualify for SSD or SSI benefits, you must be diagnosed with your disability or condition by a physician or specialist. You also should be undergoing treatment and regularly visit your doctor or specialist. The current 2013 SSD gross monthly income is $1,040. Learn more about Social Security disability benefits.

If you lost your job due to your injury…

If you lost your job due to your injury or missing work, you may qualify for Unemployment Compensation. Learn more and find out if you're eligible.

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