How Long Should I Take Off Work After a Car Accident?

injured woman working from home

The time after a car accident can be painful and confusing. You may wonder what to do next and how long you should take off work. You do not have to face this alone.

Unfortunately, an estimated 2.28 million people were injured on U.S. roadways in 2020. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident caused by someone else, you might be entitled to compensation. You should discuss your case with an experienced New York car accident attorney to learn more.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been in a Car Accident?

You must seek medical attention if you have been injured in a car accident. This will ensure that any injuries you have don’t get worse. It will also begin to get you the medical treatment that you need.

Even if you believe you may not be injured, you should still seek medical care. Some injuries may not immediately present symptoms. Injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), internal bleeding, and nerve damage won’t become obvious until after the accident. Only a doctor can diagnose your injuries. Keep all the documentation you receive and follow all doctor’s orders exactly.

You should also inform your employer that you’ve been in a car accident and may miss work. You can do this by sending an email to your boss or by calling on the phone. If you make a phone call, it’s important to also send an email afterward summarizing what you discussed during the call. This will document your discussions with your employer.

After you’ve received initial medical care and notified your employer, you should contact an experienced New York attorney from Finz & Finz, P.C. They can assess your case during a free consultation. You need to understand your options and how your choices today can impact your ability to pursue compensation for your losses.

Should I Go to Work After Being in a Car Accident?

Each car accident is unique, and so are the injuries sustained. The only way to know whether you should go to work after a car accident is to defer to your doctor. They can assess whether you should return to work.

Comply with your doctor’s directions, including instructions for taking time off work. If your doctor tells you to stay home from work, you should follow these doctor’s orders, even if you feel well enough to return to work. Returning to work too soon may prevent you from receiving full compensation for your losses.

Documenting Missed Work After an Accident

The time you take off work after an accident has a specific purpose. This is recovery time during which your body needs to rest and heal. Keep your employer informed of your status as you progress through your medical treatment.

In writing, notify your employer’s human resources (HR) department of your progress. Include information about any injuries you have sustained and doctor’s estimates of how much work time you may miss. In your correspondence, stick to the information that your doctor has provided you. Your assessment of how you feel is not the same as a medical diagnosis.

How Long Should I Wait Before Returning to Work?

After an accident, it is understandable to want life to return to normal quickly. This may include a desire to return to work as soon as you feel you can. However, only a doctor can medically clear you to return to work after an accident.

You may be concerned about what your boss or coworkers will think of you for missing work. This is understandable. However, you need to take care of yourself during this time. Going back to work before a doctor clears you will not do you any favors. It can impair your recovery and reduce your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve for your losses.

If you go back to work early, an insurance company can argue that you were well enough to return to work. They may try to make the case that this must mean your injuries were not serious.

Pursuing Compensation for Lost Wages

The compensation to which you may be entitled has multiple different components. One of these may be reimbursement for lost wages. Your Long Island car accident lawyer will consider all components of compensation, which may also include:

  • Medical bills
  • Prescription medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disfigurement

There may be insurance companies involved in your case. Your attorney will handle all contact with them for you, including negotiating a settlement.

Most car accident injury cases are settled outside the courtroom. However, this does not always happen. If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, your attorney will be prepared to fight for you in court.

Should I Use Sick Leave If I Miss Work?

The time after an accident can be stressful. If you are watching medical bills pile up while you are out of work due to your injury, this can be especially alarming. If you can use paid sick leave, this may be a beneficial choice.

Using paid sick leave can help you avoid financial distress as you recover. You may be able to receive compensation for any paid sick leave you use. You should not have to use your paid sick leave because of someone else’s mistake.

In addition, you may be eligible for unpaid time off work under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Your eligibility depends on specific details of your employment and whether your employer is covered under FMLA. Your employer’s HR department will be able to provide guidance on FMLA eligibility.

Contact Us Today

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in New York that was not your fault, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation. You should speak with an experienced lawyer about your case as soon as possible. Contact the New York car accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. now for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.