Taking Time Off of Work After a Car Accident

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Being in a car accident introduces a world of headaches and problems into the victim’s life. In addition to the obvious worries over injuries, there are work-related concerns that every victim has to consider. For instance, should the victim notify their employer after a crash? How long should the victim stay out of work? Can the victim be paid for income that is lost due to the accident?

The Law Office of Taylor S. Braithwaite works on behalf of car accident victims in seeking the compensation they deserve to recover. Our Aiken car accident lawyer examines the above and related matters so you know best how to proceed after being in a wreck.

How to Tell Your Boss You Got Into a Car Accident

Notifying your boss about the wreck is a good idea for several reasons. For one, you may not know how long you’ll be out recovering from your injuries. You could be hospitalized initially and then sent home for bed rest. Letting your employer know right away that you’ve been hurt can prevent misunderstandings and avoid job-related disciplinary issues.

Second, you may need to tell your boss so you can begin accessing paid time off or other forms of relief (such as FMLA) that you may have available. If the accident was work-related, you might be able to file for workers’ compensation, in which case your employer must be notified.

Also, your employer cannot legally fire you for missing time from work because of a car accident, which is all the more reason to inform the company immediately. You may also have terms of an employment contract related to missed time from work that you need to activate.

Finally, you’ll want your boss to know that you are keeping up with your doctor’s recommendations and attending follow-up appointments so he or she can best determine when it is safe to go back to work. Your doctor may give you a note that explains the work restrictions that you will have when you return. This at least informs your employer that you will return to work while giving your boss notice that your duties could be limited.

Call your boss about the accident, but also send something in writing (such as an email) with information including:

  • The details, such as when, where, and how, of the accident
  • Any claim you have that the accident happened during your normal work duties
  • The nature and extent of your injuries
  • An estimate, including from a doctor if possible, of how long you will be out of work and what your abilities may be when you return

You should also check with your human resources department if you have one, about policies related to work and claiming time off for injuries. You may have alternatives like being able to work from home while you recover.

Should You Go to Work After a Car Accident?

This may be a debatable question initially if you are hospitalized, require surgery, or are so disabled that you are home-bound for a time after being released from the doctor’s medical care. As mentioned above, there may be options like remote work that allow you to earn money while recovering from your injuries.

In making this decision you have to evaluate different factors such as:

  • The severity of your injuries and whether you need more time to heal
  • Whether your injuries impede your ability to carry out normal work duties
  • Your doctor’s recommendations for recovery and further treatment
  • Whether your doctor has determined if other injuries may be present since many do not manifest themselves until days or weeks after an accident
  • The level of pain and suffering you are experiencing
  • Whether your employer has workplace accommodations that can help you be productive while working within your limitations

If you need clarification about the health or legal consequences of returning to work, talk to your doctor and attorney immediately.

How Long Should You Stay Out of Work After a Car Accident?

Your health is important to your livelihood and personal well-being. Remember, returning to work before you are ready to do so could make an already bad situation worse. It’s important to follow your doctor’s advice and attend follow-up appointments. Don’t be afraid to call your doctor if you are uncertain about your recovery or if additional complications develop.

Going back to work too soon could jeopardize more than your health. If you aggravate your injuries, then the at-fault party and their lawyers and insurance company may try to blame you for making your situation worse. They may attempt to use this to deny an insurance payout or reduce your damages at trial.

The same applies to lost wages. You may be entitled to this money but returning to work early could eliminate that from your damages.

Can You Get Compensated for Lost Wages?

During your recovery time, you may have to miss work and therefore miss money you would otherwise be earning. You might also need to use disability insurance or paid time off so you can pay your bills. Victims should not have to lose money out of their pockets because of someone else’s negligence. Even if disability insurance or paid time off is available, that does not allow the at-fault party to pay you less money.

You also need to be mindful of lost future income resulting from your injuries. This is sometimes called decreased earning capacity. Your accident may prevent you from either returning to the same job, working in the same position, or working at the same level of productivity as before.

This could cost you substantial terms of future earnings over the lifetime of your career in the form of income, benefits, retirement, and much more. Be sure to ask your lawyer about claiming decreased earning capacity.

Have You Been in an Accident? Contact a Lawyer Today

We know the uncertainty and anxiety that victims experience in the days and weeks following their car accidents. That’s why attorney Taylor Braithwaite is committed to seeking justice for those who have been injured because of the irresponsible actions of others. Were you in an accident and want to know which steps to take next? Connect with us today online or call (803) 220-0000 to learn more.


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