Pursuant to the Michigan No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act, persons temporarily unemployed at the time of an automobile accident are able to collect wage loss benefits during their period of disability following the crash.
For example, let’s say you were laid off, fired, or quit your last job where you worked as a cashier, earning $10.00 per hour, working 20 hours per week. One month later, you were involved in a motor vehicle accident and could no longer work. At the time, you had been searching for a new job on Career Builder and other job search sites, as well as applying in person for other jobs. Now, you can’t work due to your accident-related injuries.
In the above example, you may claim wage loss at a rate of $10.00 per hour for 20 hours per week during your period of disability, even though you did not have a job at the time of the crash. You qualify as a “temporarily unemployed person” under the Michigan No-Fault Act and are entitled to wage loss benefits. However, you must have some written proof of prior employment (W2, tax return, wage verification, paystubs, etc.) and proof that you were actively seeking employment prior to the crash (job applications, online applications, etc.) in order to collect wage loss in this scenario. Further, the term “temporarily unemployed” has been interpreted to limit the time period of unemployment prior to the crash. If you were unemployed for 3 months prior to the crash, you likely qualify for wage loss benefits. However, if you were out of work for several years prior to the crash, you may not have a claim as a temporarily unemployed person.
Let’s change the above example. Let’s say one of the positions for which you applied before the automobile accident offered you a full-time job making $12.00 per hour after the crash (more hours and higher pay than your last job). However, as a result of your injuries, you cannot perform the essential duties of the job and have to turn it down.
In this example, you are entitled to claim wage loss benefits at the rate of the job you were offered following the crash: $12.00 per hour, 40 hours per week (full time). This is work you would have performed but for your accident-related injuries. As long as there is some written evidence of a job offer and the employer will verify the pay rate and hours and/or salary of the job, you are able to claim wage loss at this higher rate until the period of your disability ends.
Often we speak to accident victims who are receiving UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS then after an automobile accident, they can no longer perform the duties of the job(s) for which they applied. If this should happen to you, make sure to inform the State of Michigan Unemployment Office that you are no longer ready, willing and able to work. Once your auto injury related disability ends and you are able to return to you pre-accident occupation, you can reapply for unemployment benefits.