When do insurance companies have to pay for lost wages?

My wife works part-time with no sick days. She has not worked since being injured in an auto accident last month. The other driver was at fault (100%). We can’t pay all our bills without her income. Does the at fault driver’s insurance company have to start paying now to cover our bills? Can we collect for late payments and get compensation for damaged credit rating?

Asked on October 15, 2011 under Personal Injury, Illinois

Answers:

Mike Harvath / Harvath Law

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

     Hi.  I am an Illinois personal injury attorney that has handled many auto accident claims.  We frequently recover compensation for lost wages for clients.  I am sorry to hear about your wife's accident and I hope she is on the road to recovery.

     Additional information is needed, such as the type of injuries she sustained, in order to determine an estimate of the amount of compensation that she should be entitled to.  The details of the accident are highly relevant.  For example, if the other driver was highly reckless, additional compensation can be recovered if the correct legal theories are presented to the insurance company.  Furthermore, certain types of injuries can entitle your wife to significant compensation, particularly if the injuries are such that they will cause long-term impairment or disability, even if slight.  There is a considerable amount of strategy that personal injury attorneys use in negotiating for settlements, in order to maximize the amount recoverable.

     Also, it is often possible to recover under more than one insurance policy, which can increase the amount of compensation, and the language of your own policy should be looked at by an attorney to see if there is additional compensation available through your own policy.

     I hope this helps, at least maybe to some extent.  For your convenience, you can feel completely free to e-mail me directly at mth2000@yahoo.com.  Our firm website is: www.harvathmissouriillinoislawyers.com.  Thanks.

NOTE: This answer is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice.  The use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship or privilege between the user and the attorney responding.

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your wife can receive compensation for wage loss as part of her personal injury claim.  When she completes her medical treatment and is released by the doctor or is declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means no further improvement is anticipated, she should then obtain her medical bills, medical reports and wage loss documentation.  Her personal injury claim filed with the other driver's insurance company should include those items.  Compensation for medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of her injuries and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.

It would be premature to try to settle the case prior to being released by the doctor because the total medical bills, final medical report and total wage loss would not be known.  Once the case is settled, your wife would not be able to ask the insurance company for more money in the future.  It could be argued that the late payments are due to the injury and lost income and therefore might be recoverable, but this may be difficult to prove.  Damage to the credit rating would also be difficult to prove.

If your wife is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, she can reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit against the other driver for negligence.  If the case is settled with the insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled, she will need to file her lawsuit for negligence against the other driver prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your wife will lose her rights in the matter forever.


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