Visitor Question

Insurance refusing to cover wages lost while caring for my injured child?

Submitted By: Katherine (Fairfax, VA)

My daughter was a passenger in a vehicle that was t-boned. The driver of her car was at fault. The insurance company acknowledges fault. I had to take off work to take my daughter to several doctor’s appointments. Because I am only paid when I work, this resulted in lost wages.

The car insurance company states…

“We are unable to consider a parent’s lost wages as part of the claim. We are only able to consider lost wages for the person the bodily injury claim is made for.”

I thought my lost wages incurred while caring for my daughter should be covered? Is there some means of recuperating the lost wages? My daughter was 14 and had to be driven to the appointments and supervised while she was home. What can I do about this? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Katherine,

You state the car insurance company said, “We are unable to consider a parent’s lost wages as part of the claim. We are only able to consider lost wages for the person the bodily injury claim is made for.”

While this statement sounds quite official, its unilateral position is untenable. While the insurance company might have an argument your daughter could have taken responsibility for her own transportation and care, that position would only be tenable if your daughter was an adult.

In this case, your daughter was a minor at the time of the crash, and therefore unable to drive herself, or make arrangements to be driven to and from treatment.

The insurance company is wrong, and you are right.

If you can’t persuade the insurance company to fairly compensate you for your lost wages and related costs, including your out of pocket expenses for such items as medications, hospital and physician parking lot fees, etc., you can consider filing a small claims lawsuit against the at-fault driver in small claims court.

You can’t sue the insurance company because they are not the one who injured your daughter. It was the at-fault driver who did. However, once you file a lawsuit it will be the at-fault driver’s insurance company which will provide compensation, if awarded by the court.

Virginia Small Claims Courts have jurisdiction (maximum power) to hear lawsuits involving compensation up to $5,000.

Another consideration is taking action against the insurance company for displaying “bad faith” in failing to compensate you. Bad faith exercised by insurance companies can result not only in compensation to you for lost wages, out of pocket expenses, etc., but punitive damages, which can be thousands of dollars more.

The courts will not hesitate to award punitive damages where the courts feel an insurance company acted in bad faith.

Consult with several personal injury attorneys in your area. After reviewing the underlying facts, they may agree to represent you, not in a claim for lost wages and out of pocket expenses, but instead in a bad faith claim against the insurance company.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 2, 2017

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