When to Take Time Off Work After a Car Accident

Learn why it’s critical for your health and injury claim to take your recovery seriously.

Getting into a car accident can be a traumatic experience, both physically and mentally. It’s important to take care of yourself and give your body time to heal after a car wreck. But when it comes to taking time off work, many people may feel unsure about when to take time off work after a car accident. Our Long Island car accident lawyers can help you understand your legal options after you were injured in an automobile wreck.

For a free legal consultation, call 516-451-7900

Should I Take Time Off Work After a Car Accident?

The answer to this question depends on your specific situation. If you have sustained serious injuries that require medical treatment and rest, your doctor may stipulate that you should take time off work and provide a doctor’s note. It’s important to prioritize your health and well-being above all else. Trying to push through pain or discomfort at work could potentially worsen your condition and prolong your recovery time.

Understand Your Rights as an Employee

First and foremost, it’s important to understand your rights as an employee in New York.

If Your Car Accident Was Work-Related

The state mandates that employers provide workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained in the course of employment. This means that if you’re injured in a car accident while performing work-related duties, you’re likely entitled to compensation for medical bills, medical expenses, and lost wages.

If Your Car Accident Was NOT Work-Related

If your car accident was not work-related, you will not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Start with your organization’s human resources department. They can provide specific information about your entitlements under company policies that might support you in case of an injury. Contact your insurance company to confirm your coverage options as well.

Consult with a Medical Professional

Before making any decisions about taking time off work, consult with a medical professional and get prompt medical care. They will be able to assess your injuries, give you a treatment plan, and provide recommendations for how much time you should take off work to properly heal. In addition, your doctor’s notes about your injuries will be an important part of your medical records that can be used as evidence if you pursue a personal injury case. And, if work is appropriate following an accident, your medical provider can instruct you on any necessary restrictions while at work.

Communicate with Your Employer

Once you have a better understanding of your rights and have consulted with a medical professional, it’s important to communicate with your employer about taking time off work. Depending on the severity of your injuries and your job responsibilities, you may need to take a few days or even weeks off.

Write or Email a Request for Time Off

How to Request Time Off When You've Been Injured in a Car Accident

When communicating with your employer, it’s best to do so in writing. This will provide a paper trail and ensure that all parties are on the same page. When writing a request for time off due to your injuries, be sure to refer to your employer’s HR policy for specific instructions. In most cases, you will want to be sure to include the following information:

  • The reason for your request (i.e. recovering from a car accident)
  • The date(s) you will be requesting off and the type of leave you are requesting (sick days, unpaid days off, etc.)
  • Documentation with medical evidence from your doctor
  • A plan for covering your work responsibilities while you are away
  • Depending on the severity of your injuries and your employment, you may be eligible for FMLA and/or New York Paid Family Leave and can also submit your request for leave under these programs.

Be sure to also thank your employer for their understanding and flexibility during this time.

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Using FMLA for Extended Time Off

If you anticipate needing more time off than what is provided by your employer’s policies, you may be able to utilize the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This federal law allows eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain medical conditions. However, it’s important to note that not all employers are required to offer FMLA.

If you do qualify to file for FMLA, your job will be protected during your time off and you will also continue to receive any applicable health insurance benefits.

New York also has its own paid leave benefits program for taking time off to help a family member recover from an accident.

Will Going Back to Work Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

If your car accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be considering seeking compensation and filing a personal injury claim. In car accident cases involving injuries that cause time off of work, it’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before returning to work.

Returning to work too soon or pushing yourself too hard at work can potentially harm your personal injury claim. Your attorney will be able to advise you on the best course of action and ensure that your rights are protected.

Filed Under: Car Accidents Personal Injury

For a free legal consultation, call 516-451-7900

Practice Areas

Our Long Island Injury Lawyers Have Experience In

Truck Accidents
Accidents on the highways can be lethal events
Bicycle Accidents
Riding a bicycle should not be unsafe
Car Accidents
If you have been seriously injured, call our firm
Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents often result in serious injury
Medical Malpractice
Medical mistakes can cause death ruin lives
Wrongful Death
When negligence results in the death of a loved me
Premises Liability
When hurt in a location, someone has to take responsibility
Brain Injury
Brain injuries can have long term severe effects
Dog Bites
Dog bites can cause serious injury


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