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I was hurt in a truck crash. Can I receive compensation for my time off of work?

Under Michigan’s auto No Fault laws, you can receive compensation for lost wages after a truck wreck

tractor-trailer-rollover

Can someone be compensated for time missed from work while they are healing from injuries from a truck accident?

The short answer is yes, but not from the trucking company (or the insurance of the trucking company) that caused the wreck that injured you.

One of the things that makes a truck accident case in Michigan so different from other states is that Michigan has an auto No Fault law, and unlike in many pure tort states, that makes it possible for a truck accident victim to receive financial compensation for the wages he or she loses because his or her accident-related injuries disable him or her from working.

But the catch is you have to turn to your own auto insurance company, not to the party who actually caused the wreck. And according to Michigan law, No Fault (PIP) benefits will cover the first three years of lost wages depending on your income. As of October 1, 2015, your maximum wage loss benefits are $5,398 per month.

If an accident victim makes more than $70,000 a year – or if a truck accident victim’s injuries prevent him or her from working for more than 3 years after the crash – he or she could be entitled to “excess wage loss,” which is covered by the wrongdoer’s insurance policy.

When I first explain that this is how the wage loss law works for people in Michigan, whether caused by a truck wreck or any other type of motor vehicle accident, I’m usually told this just doesn’t seem fair. But it usually works out to an injured person’s benefit. Truck accident injuries are usually more serious than injuries caused by a smaller passenger car, if only because of the much greater size and weight of the tractor-trailer. These injuries can often affect people for the rest of their lives, and often involve serious brain and spinal cord injuries .

In pure tort states, the insurance company and the trucking company that caused the crash are also responsible for all of the wage loss and economic loss and medical bills that they have caused, but they are responsible for compensation for pain and suffering as well. Because many trucking companies have policy limits of $750,000 (which have not been raised in decades), any very serious injury case today can easily have that much just in medical bills and Medicare recovery rights and economic loss. That means in many cases the accident victim can receive nearly nothing for injuries and pain and suffering. In fact, the more catastrophic the medical injuries, the less they will receive.

In Michigan, under our auto No Fault law, the wage loss and medical bills are excluded from the tort settlement with the wrongdoer trucking company. Michigan’s No Fault law preserves the money for an injury settlement for a victim’s pain and suffering, so they are actually made whole – and far more than they would be if the money is extinguished as it often is in a pure tort state with insurance limits that are not adequate to cover the injuries and medical bills and wage loss.

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Blog Author Steven M. Gursten
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