Question: I was hit from behind in an auto accident. Should I be reimbursed for my time off work to meet with the adjuster, get a rental car, wait for wrecker, etc.?
Answer No. If you weren’t injured in the auto accident, then you can’t make a claim for lost wages. Unfortunately, the time you had to take off of work will just have to be racked up to the downside of being in an accident.
Being in an accident is unpleasant enough, and then you have to spend time at the scene waiting for police, the tow truck, getting a rental, and the list goes on. But that you can’t claim or seek compensation in the way of lost wages because they are just part of being in an accident. Insurance would be far more expensive than it already is if every inconvenience were somehow covered.
There are types of car insurance coverages that pay for lost wages, but only if you were hurt in the accident.
Bodily injury liability pays for lost wages, as do the benefits from most personal injury protection (PIP) plans; however, you have to be injured and be off work due to those injuries in order to file a claim for the loss of earnings.
If you had an accident-related injury and were unable to work due to attending medical treatment or recovering from your injury, then you could seek compensation for this time away from work that was injury-related.
If you had only damage to your vehicle, then you’re out of luck for claiming lost wages.
Property damage liability, which you file under if the other party were at-fault, pays only for items associated with the damages to your vehicle, such as the repairs, towing and a rental car for you to have as substitute transportation.
If you’re at-fault for the accident, then you’d file an auto insurance claim under your own collision coverage. This pays for damages to your car, but not a rental car or lost wages.
The time you take off work to deal with the accident and pursue your claim is not compensable. Accidents are a pain in the neck and can cost you, even if you aren’t at fault. That is why people try to avoid having accidents at all costs. You couldn’t avoid being rear-ended, so the best you can do is try to limit the amount of time you’re off work.
Try to schedule events, like meeting with the claims adjuster, before or after work or on your lunch break so that you won’t have to take time off of work. The at-fault party’s insurance company should work with you and work around your schedule.