If you are injured in an motor vehicle accident or involved in an accident which involves the “use or maintenance” of a motor vehicle while working for your employer and become disabled due to the work injury, you may be entitled to not only workers’ compensation wage loss benefits, but also wage loss benefits under your own automobile insurance policy, provided you have this coverage. For example, an employee of an automobile repair shop may receive income loss benefits for injuries received when repairing a customer’s tire, or a bus driver, injured in a motor vehicle accident during the course of her employment, could receive income loss benefits under her automobile insurance policy, as could a dockworker who is injured lifting a truck door or slipping while getting out of a truck.
While the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act, 75 Pa. C.S.A. Section 1719, makes workers’ compensation benefits the primary source for income loss benefits and other benefits which may be due a worker who suffers a disability in a work-related accident, Section 1712(2)(i) of the Act also provides that when a policyholder becomes unable to work due to an injury suffered in an automobile accident and has income loss coverage, the policy holder is entitled to income loss benefits which shall be 80% of the actual loss of gross income, up to the policy limits. In most cases, an employee unable to work because of a work injury, is only entitled to two-thirds (2/3) of their average weekly wage from their Employer or the Employer’s Workers Compensation insurance carrier. The Pennsylvania Courts have held that an injured employee can then look to their automobile insurance policy for wage loss benefits coverage. Our Courts have held that the injured employee is entitled to eighty (80%) per cent of this remaining one-third (1/3) loss of wages. Danko v. Erie Exchange Group, 630 A.2d 1219 (1993)
If you have income loss coverage under your automobile insurance, you should provide a proof of loss to your insurance company and make a formal demand to obtain these benefits.