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Michigan Car Accidents – Wage Loss Benefits

Under the Michigan no-fault law, an injured person is entitled to reimbursement for lost wages resulting from the motor vehicle accident.  The accident victim can receive 85% of their gross wages for up to three years from the date of the accident.

There is a statutory maximum you can receive in lost wages in one month.  This number is adjusted annually.  If your earnings exceed the statutory maximum, you can receive reimbursement from the negligent driver’s insurance company through a third-party claim.  This is called excess economic loss.

What is Considered Wage Loss under Michigan Auto Law?

Wage loss includes regular wages, overtime and cost of living adjustments.  However, fringe benefits like health insurance and pension benefits is not a  wage loss benefit under the Michigan no-fault law. In addition, other nontaxable income is not a wage loss benefit and cannot be recouped either. Further, a person can only get the amount of money they would have earned if the crash and subsequent inability to work did not occur. This means an injured person cannot claim a “loss of earning capacity.” Instead, they can only claim the amount of wages they were actually earning when the car accident disabled them from employment.

What Evidence Do I Need to Show to Get Wage Loss Benefits?

Typically, a doctor’s work loss slip or some type of medical proof, such as medical records, are required by the car insurance company to receive the benefit. The disability slip does not have to be very detailed. Instead, a doctor, physician’s assistance or nurse practitioner merely has to state the injured person is unable to work due to the car accident injuries.

Besides a disability slip, the insurance company will also require proof of income.

Insurance companies will usually require a wage, salary and benefits verification form to process a wage loss claim.  The wage verification form must be completed by the employer and include dates of employment, dates absent from work following the accident, the hourly wage or salary of the injured person and other wage information such as overtime hours and overtime pay.

Another form of income are pay stubs, tax returns, tax forms, 1099 forms or other documentation of income. The no-fault law does not define or state how a person must prove income. However, the more documentation a person can provide to the insurance carrier the easier it will be to obtain wage loss income.

What if You Were Not Employed at the Time of the Car Accident?

It is important to understand that a person doesn’t have to be employed on the date of the accident to receive wage loss benefits. If you were were temporarily unemployed at the time of the crash, you may be eligible to receive wage loss benefits.

Under MCL 500.3107a, work loss for an injured person who is temporarily unemployed at the time of the crash or during the period of disability is based on income from the last month of the last full time job the claimant had before the accident.

Please contact Michigan no-fault attorneys at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) to learn more about wage loss benefits and the Michigan no-fault law.