Car accidents are scary, messy affairs. Not only are victims likely to be badly hurt, but they can also rack up enormous costs from medical bills and damage to property. While those expenses and damages may be obvious, other financial hardships victims of car crashes suffer may not be as immediately apparent. For example, someone hurt in a car crash may not be able to work for a period of time and not get paid. Courts understand that this can create significant financial hardship, so plaintiffs can request damages to offset “lost wages” after a car accident.

Generally, in order to recover lost wages after a car crash, you need to file a claim for damages first with your insurance provider or the defendant’s, if your policy has an unlimited right to sue, and then go to court if those insurance companies do not cooperate. This could be because the damages you are requesting go beyond what your insurance offers or because the insurance company does not want to cooperate. In both instances, you will need to demonstrate through evidence that you are entitled to damages for lost wages.

Start working with our New Jersey car accident lawyers today by calling Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769.

How Do I Get Damages for Lost Wages in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, you will likely first seek compensation to offset lost wages in an insurance claim. New Jersey is a “no-fault” state for auto insurance, which means that your insurance will provide some coverage, regardless of whose fault the accident was.

Depending on the exact wording of your policy, you may have different levels of coverage. Under N.J.S.A. § 39:6A-4(b), the minimum coverage an insurance policy must provide for lost wages is $100 a week. However, this is the minimum required by law, so your particular policy may provide a greater amount of coverage.

If your insurance policy has an unlimited right to sue, you do not have to seek compensation from them first. Instead, you will be able to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company or sue that driver directly.

You prove that you are entitled to damages for lost wages in court in New Jersey the same way you get compensation for anything else. You and our Newark, NJ car accident lawyers demonstrate that the defendant is liable for your injuries and, therefore, should compensate you with damages.

What are “Lost Wages” in New Jersey?

Now that you understand how to recover lost wages after a car accident, it may be good to know what exactly “lost wages” refers to. “Lost wages” reimburse injury victims to get them the wages they’re going to miss out on and restore them to the financial state they were in before they got hurt.

Lost wages can take different forms. First, if you had to take time away from your job to recover from your injuries and were not earning any money, you can recover lost wages based on what you would have earned during that time. Second, if you had to stop doing your prior job and had to take another, less lucrative one because of your injuries, you can get damages based on the difference in pay between those two pay amounts. Finally, if your injuries are such that you are no longer able to work, you can get financial compensation based on what you are projected to have earned for what would have been the rest of your working career.

Other Things that May Fall under “Lost Wages” in New Jersey

In addition to the things discussed above, you may be able to seek financial compensation for certain other things, such as lost wages in New Jersey. While these items may not exactly be “wages,” they are related to missing time at work, and you can get damages for them in your claim.

Employment Benefits

In many cases, employers will tie health insurance, dental insurance, retirement benefits, and other benefits to employment. If an employee gets injured and can no longer do their job because of their injuries, they may lose those benefits. Accordingly, they can seek damages to offset that loss.


If you are self-employed, you will have to show that you can no longer work in that capacity in order to get compensation.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for Lost Wages After a Car Crash in New Jersey?

If you are considering filing a lawsuit to get compensation for lost wages after a car crash, you need to act quickly. Under N.J.S.A. § 2A:14-2, plaintiffs have two years from when they get injured to file a lawsuit. These types of laws are called statutes of limitations, and they put time limits on how long plaintiffs have to file claims. Once that two-year time period is up, you will be out of luck and unable to file a car accident lawsuit.

Interacting with insurance companies is not interacting with the court and, therefore, is not necessarily subject to the statute of limitations. However, most people will generally file an insurance claim before going to court, so the reality is that time will have been spent dealing with an insurance company while the statutory period is still ticking down. Although the insurance company must start investigating your claim within just ten days of when you make your claim according to NJ Admin. Code § 11:2-17.7(a), it can still take up to 105 days after that point to get some kind of result from the company. This is not a chunk of time you can ignore when taking into account the timeline for filing a potential lawsuit. Accordingly, it is very important to file a lawsuit quickly if you are thinking of pursuing one.

Contact our New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers Today

Our Jersey City car accident lawyers are ready to start helping you with your case when you call Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769.