According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the costs of medical care and work absence expenses due to injuries in car crashes amounted to over 75 billion in 2017 alone. Car crash injuries and the resulting income losses due to work absence can cause a significant amount of anxiety for accident victims and their families. Many victims wonder when they should return to work after a car crash, as they fear losing income or perhaps losing their job altogether. As a result, car accident victims are often tempted to return to work earlier than they should due to the feeling the pressure of having to make ends meet or simply wanting to get back into their normal daily routine.
While you may feel like you are returning to your normal life, you could end up aggravating any injuries or losing your ability to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact our experienced car accident attorneys at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law to make sure your legal rights are fully protected before making any decisions about returning to work after a car accident.
Call us now for a free consultation at (651) 259-1113.
Considerations When Taking Time Off Work After a Car Crash
There are several important aspects to consider when taking time off of work after a serious car accident.
Seek Medical Evaluation and Treatment
The most important step after a car accident is to receive a medical evaluation by a qualified health care professional Only a medical professional can assess your injuries and determine your treatment and recovery time. Following your doctor’s advice can give you a better chance of recovering fully from your injuries.
Contact Your Employer
You will want to keep your employer informed at all times and follow all your company’s rules and regulations when it comes to taking time off for your injuries resulting from a car accident. Some steps you may wish to take to protect your rights can include:
- Obtain a doctor’s note that indicates you are unable to return to work for physical or emotional reasons
- Attend all medical follow-up appointments
- Maintain communication with your employer
- Keep a journal of your symptoms and recovery
- Follow all your employer’s instructions and provide documents as required
- Keep all your medical reports and statements safe
Accident victims may worry about getting fired for taking time off work after a car accident. However, you could be protected under state laws as well as the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA allows eligible employees who suffer from a serious health condition due to a car accident to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave. At the end of your recovery period, an employer is generally required to give you your job back or employ you in another position with the same pay and benefits. If you are worried about compromising your legal rights when it comes to returning to work after a car accident, contact an experienced car accident attorney at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law to help you better understand your legal rights.
Dangers of Returning to Work Too Early
There can be several reasons why those injured in car accidents can be tempted to return to work earlier than they should, which can include:
- Concern about losing their job
- Worrying about missing out on a promotion
- Wondering about what their boss or colleagues think of them
- Wanting to get back to a routine
- Underestimating the extent of their injuries
- Needing to earn an income
Many accident victims feel compelled to return to work in order to pay for their mounting medical bills, ongoing living expenses, and costs that come with an accident such as a rental car. However, you may have the right to receive compensation from your private health insurance as well as your car insurance. If another driver’s negligence caused your car accident, you could file a personal injury claim for compensation including any loss of wages. Visiting with an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you better understand all of your legal options.
However, it is important to understand that rushing to return to work after a car crash can aggravate your accident injuries, and you could potentially risk further physical harm as well as additional lost wages. You may not be able to claim any further lost income in a personal injury lawsuit if you aggravated your injuries by returning to work against a doctor’s orders. If another party’s negligence caused your injuries and losses, consider taking the time you need to fully recover before you return to work.
Will Going Back to Work Harm My Personal Injury Claim?
Every person will have their own unique set of facts and circumstances. Consider the following different scenarios:
Returning to Work Against a Doctor’s Orders
When the time has come for your doctor to release you for work, you should follow their instructions thoroughly. Consider carefully if you want to compromise your legal right to compensation for your injuries and your lost wages. Generally, if car accident victims have to take time off work due to any injuries, they can make a claim for the income they lost.
Failing to Return To Work After A Doctor Declares a Victim Fit To Return
There are instances when not returning to work after having been declared fit for work can backfire. Staying home can impact negatively on your personal injury claim if you have the physical and psychological ability to return to work and refuse to do so. Insurance companies could argue that accident victims failing to return to work on a doctor’s release may be trying to obtain compensation fraudulently.
Consider a Second Medical Opinion
However, in the event that your doctor has declared you fit for work and you are still in pain and unsure whether you can physically or emotionally handle your job, you have the right to a second medical opinion. This can be particularly important if you have a physically demanding job that risks aggravating your injuries. You could also talk to your employer to find out whether you could work in a reduced function or take on lighter duties until you feel better.
Consult with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law Today
Returning to work after a car crash before your injuries have fully healed can be detrimental to both your health and your ability to file a claim for the full compensation you deserve. If you suffered injuries and losses as a result of a car accident, contact an experienced car accident attorney at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law at (651) 259-1113 to learn more about your legal rights in a free consultation today.