Car accidents can be scary and it’s important to determine whether your injuries will have a long-term impact on your health and ability to work. Here are some answers to questions we often hear from our personal injury clients hurt in a car wreck.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Taking Time Off After a Wreck
- How soon should you return to work after a car accident?
- What should I do after a car accident?
- Should you go into work after a car accident?
- What if I don’t feel sick or hurt, but my doctor is still telling me to stay home?
- How do I tell my boss I have a car accident?
- Will going back to work affect my personal injury claim?
- Will car insurance pay for lost wages?
- Where can I go for more help?
How soon should you return to work after a car accident?
Determining how soon you should return to work when you’ve just been in a car accident will depend on the severity of your injuries. Consult with your doctor and follow their advice.
After a car accident, it’s natural to want to return to work. The severity of your injuries might not be immediately apparent. Often, those involved will never even go to the doctor’s office to get looked at. People often return to their job, not because of what they were told by their doctor, but because they’re concerned about lost wages and medical bills.
A victim of a car accident may have injuries that prevent them from making a return to work. Following many accidents, those involved may be unable to determine the severity of their injuries. In the case of whiplash, symptoms may not be apparent until days after, and those involved may not realize that they are unable to work.
What should I do after a car accident?
A crash is a traumatic time and it’s important to remember the steps you must take to protect yourself from the possible legal ramifications that can accompany this type of event.
Follow These Steps After Your Crash
- Stay on the scene. Never leave the scene of an accident. Be sure you’re away from traffic and don’t leave until the police have given you the ok to go.
- Call 911 if there are injured people or damage to the vehicles. Calling the police will get the accident recorded, which is important if you later enlist an accident attorney to recover damages for lost work.
- Exchange information. Get the name and insurance details from the other driver, as well as the license plate and details of the other car or cars involved. Along with that, get a copy of the other driver’s insurance company information.
- Seek medical help for injuries. Call EMS or see a doctor as soon as possible for accident-related injuries. Don’t delay getting medical care because it can result in insurers and jurors questioning the severity of your injuries.
- Gather evidence and file a report with authorities. Take photos of the damage to your car, the other drivers’ car, any injuries you have, and the area where the incident occurred. Also try to get contact information for any eye witnesses. In New York, you must file a Report of Motor Vehicle Accident within 10 days if the crash caused $1,000 in damages or more.
- Seek help from the experienced Long Island car accident attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck. We have decades of experience and can help you recover whatever income you may have lost as well as money to help you cover any medical bills. Our attorneys can answer questions you may have about compensation for lost work and the money you may be owed from pain and suffering following your accident. Call today for a free consultation.
Calling into Work After a Car Accident
Once you’ve safely left the scene of your accident, it’s a good idea to call your employer if you think you might miss work. But a simple phone call is not enough.
You should also compose a letter to the human resources department at your place of employment, informing them that you were in a traffic accident. Include any necessary information about your car accident and any injury you sustained, as well as the estimated time off you will require in order for your recovery.
Put it in Writing
By having it in writing, all parties will have documentation on file of your missed work. This is important, not just for your employer, but it also lays the necessary groundwork should you wish to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to try to recover whatever money you lost from the accident.
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Should you go into work after a car accident?
There are no rules for how long to take off from work following an accident. But going back into work too soon can exacerbate your injury, as well as affect your injury claim when it comes time to try to recover compensation for lost work following a car accident. You may be entitled to lost wages from missed work, and returning too soon may derail that.
Your recovery time isn’t a vacation. It’s time that your body needs to heal. Even though you may feel that you don’t need any recovery time and that you’re able to go back to your previous position, your body may have sustained injuries that you don’t yet feel. This is why it’s important to have your accident injury checked out by your doctor, and to follow his or her recommendations involving your recovery.
What if I don’t feel sick or hurt, but my doctor is still telling me to stay home?
Ignoring your doctor’s advice following your injury may prevent you from recovering your lost income. So, follow their medical advice and take the time you need to heal from your injuries.
How do I tell my boss I have a car accident?
Car accidents are serious, and your boss will want to know that you were in a crash. Let them know, and tell them how long it might be before you can return to work. A phone call is always a good idea, but it should also be accompanied by a letter that includes:
- The fact that you’ve been in an accident
- When and where the crash occurred
- Whether you’ve been injured
- An estimate of how long you expect to be away from your job
Depending on the severity of your injuries and your employment, you may be eligible for FMLA and can also submit your request for FMLA leave.
Will going back to work affect my personal injury claim?
Being in a car crash can affect both your health and your earning capacity. But returning to work too soon can impact your legal claims as well.
If you want to get full compensation for your missed work and lost wages, you’ll need to treat your recovery seriously.
Ignoring the advice of your doctor, and returning to work before it’s recommended, sends a message to the insurance companies that you’re not taking your recovery seriously.
It’s very possible that the lawyers who work for your insurance company might look at your claim, see that you’re “well enough” to have returned to work, and decide that you’re no longer entitled to your full compensation.
Will car insurance pay for lost wages?
Unlike being injured at work, having paid sick leave, or paid vacation time, your employer is not required by law to pay your wages if you are injured outside of your job. It’s therefore up to your insurance provider, or that of the other driver’s to make sure you’re compensated for your lost work. New York has mandatory No-Fault coverage which provides for lost wage reimbursement. This is required on all NY policies.
Depending on your injuries and employment status, you may also be eligible to take unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Where can I go for more help?
For a free consultation, call the experienced attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. Our lawyers will evaluate your case free of charge and advise you on your best course of action if you are not able to work.