Car accidents can be a traumatic experience, and the aftermath often brings a host of challenges. One of the most significant issues faced by victims is the loss of wages due to their inability to work. In Buffalo, New York, the law provides a system to help victims recover these lost wages after a car accident.
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Understanding No-Fault Insurance in New York
New York State operates under a No-Fault system. This means that regardless of who is at fault in a car accident, the victim’s own car insurance will cover their basic economic losses, including medical bills and lost wages. This system applies to all of New York, including Buffalo.
How Does No-Fault Insurance Cover Lost Wages?
If your injuries from a car accident prevent you from returning to work, you have the option to apply for no-fault benefits. Also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP), no-fault insurance pays up to 80% of your salary up to $2000 per month for a maximum of three years.
Furthermore, New York State Disability, provided through your employer, can supplement the remaining 20% of your lost income. If your economic losses are greater than no-fault benefits and the other driver was at fault, you can seek compensation from the driver’s insurance company.
The Process of Filing for Lost Wages
The process of filing for lost wages after a car accident involves several steps.
Filing a No-Fault Application
Following your car accident, it’s necessary to submit a No-Fault Application, also referred to as an NF-2 form, to your No-Fault Insurance provider. This form will ask for details about you, the accident, your injuries, your employment, and any time taken off work, among other things. It’s important to remember that this application needs to be submitted within 30 days of the accident.
Filing for New York State Disability Benefits
After you’ve applied for lost wages, it’s crucial to promptly file for disability. Neglecting to do so could potentially decrease the amount of compensation you’d receive from No-Fault for your lost earnings.
Providing Proof of Employment
Once you’ve filled out the NF-2 form, your insurance company will require proof of your employment. This can be accomplished by using a wage verification form known as form NF-6. This form will be forwarded to your employer and will request details such as your weekly wage amount and the number of workdays missed due to the accident.
Providing a Doctor’s Note for Disability Filing
You are required to provide a doctor’s note that proves the fact that you are unable to work due to your injuries. This note has to be renewed for every 30 days of work you lose as a result of the injuries.
What If Your Lost Wages Exceed the No-Fault Coverage?
In cases where your lost wages exceed the maximum coverage provided by No-Fault insurance, you have several options at your disposal:
Apply for Additional No-Fault (Additional PIP) Benefits
Once you have exhausted the basic No-Fault benefits, you have the option to apply for Additional No-Fault benefits, also known as Additional PIP. You can do this through the vehicle insurance policy of the car you were in, or any auto insurance policy held by a family member in your household.
Claim from Your Standard Health Insurance
If there are no Additional PIP benefits accessible, you can resort to your standard health insurance to cover your medical costs.
Apply for Federal Social Security Disability Benefits
You might also qualify for benefits from Federal Social Security Disability (FSSD), which could potentially supplement your claim.
Sue the At-Fault Party
In addition to the above, you can also sue the party responsible for the accident in order to recover the costs that you paid which exceed your policy limit. This is where the concept of “serious injury” comes into play. New York law allows you to step outside the No-Fault system and bring a lawsuit if your injuries meet certain thresholds, known as a “serious injury.”
Call Us Today for a Free Case Review
The process of recovering lost wages after a car accident in Buffalo, New York can be complex and time-sensitive. However, with assistance from a skilled attorney, victims can receive the compensation they deserve.
Contact an experienced professional at Buffalo Car Accident Lawyers today. We can be reached at 716-261-2614.