Truck accident victims who suffer major injuries will often miss significant time from work. Below is a discussion of three situations when a truck accident victim will need to file a lawsuit against the negligent truck driver/truck company to recover lost pay.
1. PIP coverage is unavailable. PIP coverage for lost pay is not mandatory. Some car owners in Pennsylvania simply decline this type of coverage. Therefore, those injured in truck accidents who do not have any lost income PIP coverage may have no choice but to file a lawsuit against the truck driver and the truck company.
Example: a PA driver is hit by a truck on a highway and suffers major injuries. He cannot return to work for 6 months. Because he did not elect PIP coverage for lost pay on his own car insurance policy, he is unable to recover lost pay from his insurance carrier. In the lawsuit against the truck driver/truck company, the injured driver makes a claim to recover lost pay for the 6 months he was out of work.
2. PIP coverage does not provide enough coverage. As discussed in part 1 of this article, PIP coverage for lost pay only provides a certain percentage of the lost pay, up to a certain amount. The maximum allowed under PA car insurance law is 80% of gross income, up to a maximum of $2500 per month, but no more than $50,000 per year. Therefore, those who make PIP claims for lost pay will still face a deficit of income. They will not be made whole via PIP benefits. In these situations, the deficit can be made part of the damages claim in the lawsuit.
Example: a pedestrian in Philadelphia is hit by a truck and suffers serious injuries which cause work loss for 3 months. She has PIP coverage for lost pay and makes an appropriate PIP claim. Her gross monthly income is $4000. However, PIP only covers 25% of her monthly income, or $1000 per month. Therefore, she has a deficit of $3000 for each month she is out of work. In her lawsuit against the truck driver/truck company, her lost wage claim is $3000 for each month she missed work.
3. PIP coverage exhausts. In especially serious injury cases, such as when the individual is permanently disabled from working, PIP will exhaust. Either the annual maximum is reached or the policy coverage for lost pay will expire. For example, a truck accident victim who is permanently disabled from work may recover the $50,000 annual maximum for 2 years, which is the policy maximum, i.e., PIP benefits for lost wages are no longer available after two years from the date of the accident. It is important to note that the specifics of the coverage amounts, maximum available and life-time maximum coverage period vary from policy to policy.
Example: a PA driver is seriously injured when his car is hit by a large truck in an intersection. He is permanently disabled from work. He has PIP benefits for lost wages and receives the maximum amount under his policy: $25,000 per year for 24 months after the date of the accident. His annual salary is $50,000. Therefore, in his lawsuit against the truck driver/truck company, his lost wage claim is for $50,000 ($25,000 deficit for each of the two years he made a PIP claim). In addition, he will make a claim for future lost wages. A forensic economist will determine the total future lost wage claim.
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For more information, contact our Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers. Our attorneys serve car and truck accident victims in the following areas: Allegheny County, PA; Berks County, PA; Bucks County, PA; Chester County, PA; Delaware County, PA; Lehigh County, PA; Montgomery County, PA; Northampton County, PA: Philadelphia County, PA; Atlantic County, NJ; Burlington County, NJ; Camden County, NJ; Cumberland County, NJ; Gloucester County, NJ; Salem County, NJ; New Castle County, DE; Kent County, DE; Atlantic City, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Newark, NJ; Doylestown, PA; Media, PA; West Chester, PA; Norristown, PA; Camden, NJ; Wilmington, DE; Newark, DE; Georgetown, DE; and New Castle, DE. Our lawyers can obtain special admission in other states on a case by case basis.
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