The aftermath of a serious car accident can be overwhelming. Not only are there injuries, physician appointments, and medical expenses to handle, it may be a while before the injured individual can return to work. This can cause a loss of wages, which can cause financial strain. When a motor vehicle accident causes a long-lasting or permanent disability, it could also impact a person’s ability to earn income in the future. Lost earning capacity can be even more devastating. There are ways to recover lost wages and lost earning capacity after a car accident, but the process will vary depending on the circumstances.
Why is it Important to Receive Immediate Medical Care After an Accident?
Many car accident victims do not receive medical attention because adrenaline masks symptoms, and they may believe they are not injured. It is important to go to a doctor after a car accident because symptoms may not be present right away. Not getting medical attention could be a very costly mistake for many reasons. Besides the possibility of leading to serious medical problems, there may not be sufficient medical records to prove that the accident directly caused the injuries. Insurance providers and courts of law will question claims that do not have this kind of evidence.
Will My Car Insurance Cover Lost Wages?
Some auto insurance providers offer an option for lost wage coverage, and state laws will affect how beneficiaries are paid. For example, in Pennsylvania, there is no minimum required for income loss benefit coverage, but policyholders can choose a certain amount of benefits for each month with limits. Keep in mind that limits also apply to what percentage of the policyholder’s gross wages will be paid; the insurer may not cover the first five days of lost wages. The policyholder can opt for higher benefits when picking their plan, but this will cost more money.
What if Someone Else Caused the Accident?
A car accident victim who opts out of having lost wage coverage can sometimes recover their lost pay if another driver was at-fault. When a car accident victim feels that another person caused the accident, the victim may want to file a personal injury claim. In doing so, it may be possible to recover lost wages, as long as they directly resulted from the crash. If a plaintiff suffered a broken knee and could not work for three months, they may be able to recover the wages they would have been paid during that time period.
Psychological trauma caused by the crash could also be grounds for recovering lost income. In addition, a knowledgeable lawyer can help a plaintiff receive compensation for past and future surgeries, physical therapies, unpaid medical bills, and pain and suffering. If the plaintiff had pre-existing medical conditions before the accident, this could make the case more challenging. The plaintiff would have to prove that the accident worsened the condition, making them unable to work completely or unable to work in the same capacity as before.
What Kind of Proof Do I Need for My Case?
A plaintiff can offer their most recent paycheck as proof of their lost wages. However, if the person is self-employed, they will need to have other documents, such as invoices from the same time frame from the last year and copies of tax returns. Proving lost earning capacity can be more difficult because the future is unknown. This could be easier for someone who was doing the same work in the same salary bracket for a long period of time.
Another issue with proving lost earning capacity is when someone is partially disabled. They might be able to return to work in another capacity but at a lower pay rate. It is also not always possible to know how long a person might be disabled; they could recover slowly or quickly. In these cases, economic and financial expert witnesses may be called in to help determine the numbers. They will look at the plaintiff’s education, previous work performance, extent of the disability, and possible job prospects.
When Should I Return to Work?
There is no clear-cut answer about when to return to work. Deciding when to return to work depends on a variety of factors, including the extent of the injuries, age, and overall health. Some people recover quicker than others but pushing one’s self too soon can worsen injuries.
There are many reasons why car accident victims return to work too soon. They want to get back to their normal lives, including their work routines. A victim may believe that they are fully recovered, even though daily activities, like walking or sitting, cause pain. Going back to work too soon can worsen injuries, so getting back to normal could take even longer.
It is also common for people to return to work too soon because they fear what their colleagues and supervisors will think about them. While it is true that these co-workers may disapprove, the doctor’s orders are much more important. If the injuries are not visible, the employee might even be harassed. However, many companies are much more supportive of their employees.
There will be people who try to take advantage of the situation and claim they cannot return to work, even though they are completely healed. This is never recommended since there are ways that employers and insurance companies can get to the truth. It is always best to follow the doctor’s orders. However, if there are still serious symptoms, the patient should discuss them with their provider as soon as possible.
How can I Find the Right Balance?
Even if the car accident victim does not have apparent injuries and has been cleared by a physician, it may make sense to take a few days off. Oftentimes, injuries will appear afterwards and will need to be dealt with. The best step is to follow the doctor’s orders. Sometimes, it is wise to gradually return to work. While others can return immediately, many have to stay home until they fully recover.
With so many people working remotely these days because of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this option could make more sense. Maintaining open communication with managers and the Human Resources (HR) department is also helpful. This will show the company that the employee values their position. The employee should keep records of all interactions as well. They may need to have this information later on if there are any discrepancies or other problems that occur.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Victims Recover Lost Wages After Severe Collisions
Recovering from a car accident can be highly stressful, especially if you are unable to work for a long period of time or permanently. If you need compensation after a collision, a Philadelphia car accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC will help you with your case. Complete our online form or call us at 215-569-8488 for a free consultation today. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.