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Can I Be Compensated for Lost Wages After an Accident?

getting back wages after an accident

Kentucky’s Motor Vehicle Reparations Act, enacted in 1975, designates Kentucky as one of the few “no-fault” states in the United States. This means that while your individual rights to sue or be sued are limited, your car insurance will pay your injury claims after an accident up until a certain monetary amount.

In other words, every Kentucky driver is required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage for all vehicles with the exception of motorcycles.

For an individual to forego these requirements, they must have filed a special form with the Kentucky Department of Insurance. If you have not filled out such a form and filed it and you are a Kentucky citizen with valid car insurance, then you currently hold PIP coverage.

Recovering Your PIP Benefits

Car insurance coverage in Kentucky requires minimum liability coverage of $25,000 and PIP coverage of $10,000. Additional PIP, sometimes referred to as basic reparation benefit (BRB), can be purchased and is known as added reparational benefits (ABR). This can be purchased in increments of $10,000.

PIP coverscosts such as:

  • Medical expenses.
  • Lost wages.
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses.

Notably, PIP does not cover future wages.

When it comes to the reimbursement portion of PIP, the law currently entitles you to $200 per week for lost wages. This means if you suffer an injury that had you out of work for four weeks, you would receive $800 in PIP coverage.  Many individuals earn more than $200 per week, meaning that you may have additional unreimbursed wages, which may be recoverable from the person who caused your car accident, or the tortfeasor.

Can I Sue for More Compensation?

Sometimes. Compensation beyond PIP generally requires that another person (or entity) be responsible (or partially responsible) for causing your injuries.  In order to make a claim for additional compensation, you must have the following:

  • Medical expenses exceed $1,000.
  • A bone is broken in the accident.
  • The accident results in permanent disfigurement.
  • The accident results in permanent injury.
  • The accident results in death.

Meant to eliminate small claims and keep auto insurance costs low, these thresholds limitations are often met in car accidents.

For instance, the average Kentucky ambulance ride can cost a Medicaid patient between $350 and $750; for those without Medicaid, ambulance bills can cost up to $1,200.

The Louisville Fire Department charges $900 for a basic call, with an additional charge of $15 per mile from your location to the hospital. Advanced life support calls begin at $1,170.

Even if you do have Medicaid, as upwards of 20% of Kentuckians do, and you get a lower ambulance cost, adding emergency room billing can easily get you to the $1,000 medical expenses threshold.

If your accident and injury meet any of those criteria, speaking to a qualified Kentucky personal injury attorney and getting a risk-free consultation on your case can jumpstart the settlement process and your road to receiving compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, future wages, and pain and suffering.

The statute of limitations for a motor vehicle injury case in Kentucky begins two years from your last PIP payment or otherwise from the date of the injury, so don’t hesitate to speak with an attorney today.

Trust McCoy & Sparks—Premier Personal Injury Attorneys in Nelson County

Recognized as one of Central Kentucky’s best law firm for over a decade and counting, McCoy & Sparks works to help people in trouble, representing thousands of clients in Central Kentucky with a focus on providing premium service and delivering superior results.

Regardless of the type of case, our goal is to develop a strategy that best serves your personal needs, then draws upon our courtroom skills to help you reach the best possible result. We start by getting to know you. Next, we will explain all your options, giving you the pros and cons of each choice so that you will be empowered to make informed decisions.

You owe us nothing unless we recover compensation for you. Make the right call to (844) 4KY-WINS for a risk-free consultation with one of our attorneys today.

Video Transcript

Kentucky provides two ways to get compensated. The first is through PIP, and that is the coverage on your vehicle. PIP stands for personal injury protection coverage. So under Kentucky law, if you’re going to sell insurance in Kentucky for motor vehicles, that policy has to have two things. It has to have liability coverage of at least $25,000, and it has to have $10,000 of PIP, personal injury protection coverage.

You can buy additional PIP. The other word for PIP, or phrase, is basic reparation benefit, BRB. So the BRB benefit is the one that is mandatory. It’s $10,000. You can get ARB, or added reparation benefits, in $10,000 increments. So instead of $10,000 worth of PIP, you can have $20,000 worth. PIP coverage is on every vehicle in Kentucky. So if you’re driving around a vehicle in Kentucky that is insured, you have PIP.

And what PIP does is it tries to accelerate those items which are in most need of being quickly resolved. And that’s your medical expenses, making sure that you have some coverage to pay medical bills. And then secondly, that you have a reimbursement component for lost wages.

Again, because Kentucky has not amended their statute since it was passed, I think in the ’80s; that is a very low benefit, $200 per week. Most people make more than $200 per week. To come back as well, it’s just there to help. So if you lose a month of work, four weeks, you get $800 from PIP.

Now, the difference between what you really lost: Let’s say you’re making $500 a week, and your $500 a week now has been reimbursed at a rate of $200 per week, leaving you with a $300 lost wage component that is recoverable against the person that caused the wreck, the tortfeasor, we say in the law.

So that difference again between PIP, what PIP pays and what your [inaudible 00:02:05] is recoverable there.

Now PIP does not pay future lost wages. If you’re at the point of settlement, you’re unable to go back to work for a period of time, you would go to your doctors. I would go to your doctor and say, “Can you give me an estimate of the amount of time they will likely be off?” And we would build that into the settlement. If the doctor says, “Oh, they’re very likely to miss three months post-surgery, then I should under typical terms to be able to clear them after three months.”

Well, you can either wait and see, but if you’re at the point where you’ve really waited long enough and you’re getting close to a statute of limitations, you want to go ahead and make that demand. You would say, it’s likely my client will miss three weeks of work. The average wage was X dollars per week. So you would seek that as part of the settlement.