Jan 252014

Yes, you can.  There may be 2 ways you can recover your lost wages, and this depends on what type of car insurance you have.

1.  If you purchased a “standard” car insurance policy in New Jersey, you may be able to make a lost wages claim with your own car insurance company. Your insurance company should have offered optional PIP benefits when you purchased your “standard” policy.  Optional PIP benefits include lost wages (income continuation), essential services, death benefits and funeral expenses.  If you chose optional PIP benefits, you may make an income continuation claim under your car insurance policy.

However, there are some limitations to the income continuation coverage.  If you have the default income continuation benefit, you can only receive up to $100 per week, and the maximum payment you can receive is $5,200.  Therefore, if you receive $100 a week, you can receive lost wages for 52 weeks (1 year).  If you chose a higher coverage of the income continuation benefit, then you may receive a higher weekly payment.

If you have the default income continuation coverage, receiving $100 per week is hardly enough to make ends meet. These limitations often cause serious financial hardship.  Therefore, NJ drivers and passengers who suffer wage loss due to a car accident may file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to receive financial compensation for their remaining lost wages or any lost wages in excess of any income continuation coverage payments. For example, a driver injured in a car accident whose weekly salary is $1000 per week may be able to obtain $100/week of income continuation benefits under her PIP policy. She can make a claim for the $900/week difference in a subsequent car accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

2. If you purchased a “standard” policy and declined the optional benefits or purchased a “basic” policy, and absent an applicable disability policy, the only way to recover lost wages is to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver.  To learn more about making a lost wages PIP claim, see How to Recover Lost Wages After a New Jersey Car Accident (Part 1).

Limitation on Lawsuit/Verbal Threshold

Sometimes, injured drivers in your situation may think that if they have “limitation on lawsuit,” also known as “verbal threshold” on their car insurance policies, they cannot file lawsuits against the negligent drivers to recover their lost wages.  This is not true.  “Limitation on lawsuit” does limit injured drivers’ ability to sue the at-fault drivers, but, only for non-economic damage or pain and suffering, and not for lost wages.  There are situations where injured drivers who have “limitation on lawsuit” on their car insurance policies may sue negligent drivers for pain and suffering.  For a detailed discussion on those exceptions, see New Jersey Car Accidents & Verbal Threshold – Can Injured Car Accident Victims Recover Damages? (Part 1)

It is best that you consult a New Jersey car accident lawyer to determine whether you are eligible for continuation of income benefits from PIP and whether it is in your best interest to pursue a South Jersey car accident injury lawsuit.  If you would like to discuss your car accident in Cherry Hill further, feel free to contact me to schedule a FREE initial consultation.  800. 281.8695

*Disclaimer: Every case is unique and you should not take any action or make decisions in your case without speaking to a qualified car and truck accident lawyer in New Jersey. This website page does not provide legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Use of the contact form on this website or emailing Mr. Ciprietti does not create any attorney-client relationship. In addition, confidential information should not be sent through the contact form.