Under the Michigan no-fault law, a person injured in a car accident who is unable to work as a result of their injuries is entitled to work loss benefits, or lost wages or earnings. Work loss benefits or lost wages benefits are paid under the provisions of the Michigan no-fault law by the auto insurance company responsible for paying benefits.
These benefits are not only available to Michigan car accident victims, but also those injured in a pedestrian accident, bicycle accident, truck accident or motorcycle accident. Passengers of buses and other commuter vehicles may also be eligible to receive such benefits. Even if you were at fault for the accident, you still may be entitled to collect such compensation.
Work loss benefits or lost wages covers 85% of the gross of lost wages tax-free. There is a maximum amount in which a victim is able to collect. This amount is raised each year.
As of October 1st, 2014 the new maximum work loss rate a Michigan auto accident victim can collect under the no-fault statute is $5,392 per month. This is an increase from the previous maximum amount a person could collect which was $5,282 per month.
The capped amount is equated to an estimated annual income of $70,000. Therefore, if you make $70,000 or less per year, your lost wages from employment should be fully covered under the Michigan no-fault law. For those individuals who make more than $70,000 per year, due to the work loss cap you will not be able to collect full reimbursement from the insurance company. The amount of money in which you are unable to collect outside the maximum cap is considered “excess wage loss” and must be sought from the at-fault driver.
Depending on your accident, you may not need a lawyer to collect your wage loss benefits. Victims who are trying to collect wage loss benefits will need to contact their own auto insurance company and ask for a Michigan wage loss and income benefit application. This application must be correctly filled out and submitted to the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim. You will also need to submit with your application a wage verification form, a paycheck stub or other proof of how much you make, and typically a note from your doctor that disables you from working.
It is not uncommon for victims who submit their claim for no-fault wage loss benefits to get denied by their insurance company, or for the insurance company to delay payment or pay for a few months and then cut off payment. If your insurance company refuses to pay your lost wages, delays payment or terminates/cuts-off payment, your only recourse is to file a lawsuit against your auto insurance company. This is called a no-fault lawsuit.
When this happens it is in your best interest to hire a Michigan no-fault insurance lawyer to represent you. This is because the insurance companies can be tricky and it is important that whoever is dealing with the insurance company knows how to and has experience negotiating with them so that you receive full reimbursement.
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