Missing work due to a car accident can be frightening. You may be unsure how to pay bills and handle your other obligations while keeping your job. Your next best step is to contact a car accident lawyer who has experience juggling these issues and can handle the stressful parts for you.
Attorney David Fuchs has more than three decades of experience helping victims of car accidents understand their options after a wreck. He will listen to your story, evaluate your case, and help you get the compensation you need to move forward with life. You have legal options if you are unable to work after a car accident in Fort Lauderdale, and our legal team is here to help.
What Happens If You Can’t Work After a Car Accident?
Car accident injuries can be so severe that victims are unable to work after the crash. If you cannot work, you will likely have lost wages from the car accident. You may even have short- or long-term disabilities due to the injuries. And there could be medical bills and other obligations piling up while you’re bedridden.
Issues to Consider after a Car Accident
After you’ve been injured in a car crash and before you can start collecting compensation and disability payments, there are steps you need to take to ensure you’re adequately covered, protected, and get the most help you can.
Telling Your Employer About the Crash
Once you’re able, you should contact your employer and let them know you are unable to work. Be honest: tell them you were involved in a car accident and sustained serious injuries. You should not tell them how long you will be unable to work. Instead, tell them that you will keep them updated about your condition.
Find Out If You Have Available Time Off
Ask your employer if you have any sick days, vacation time, paid time off (PTO), or unpaid time off that you can use while recovering from your injuries. It’s essential to keep track of these days because you may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault driver for the benefits you used while taking time off.
FMLA Rights & Keeping Your Job
You should also determine if you are eligible for Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time off. FMLA protects your job while you are out of work due to qualifying medical conditions. Several requirements must be met to qualify for FMLA, so you should ask your human resources department at work and consult with your attorney to determine your eligibility.
If you are eligible to take time off work under FMLA, your job is protected. Your employer must allow you to return to your job or a similar job once you heal. However, you only have up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave.
Filing a Disability Claim
Another option to cover your lost wages and other expenses after a car accident is a disability claim. You may qualify for those benefits if you have a short-term disability insurance plan or long-term disability insurance policy. Contact your plan administrator to obtain the documents necessary to submit a disability claim.
If your car accident injuries are catastrophic or permanent, you may qualify for social security disability insurance (SSDI), which is a benefit from the federal government. An SSDI claim can take years to process, so it’s important to start as soon as your doctors indicate that you will not be able to return to work.
Bills You’ll Have After a Car Accident
If you are unable to work, bills will likely pile up. These bills are considered part of your damages and can be recovered through compensation in a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Some bills you may need to pay include:
- Ambulance Ride
- Hospital and Emergency Room
- Cost of Treatment
- Medical Devices
- Home Alterations
- Physical Therapists
- Vocational Therapists
- Rent or Mortgage
What Insurance Covers After a Car Accident
One of your best options after a car accident is to have a car insurance policy cover your losses. Florida is a no-fault state, indicating that you must have certain types of insurance that will cover damages regardless of who was at fault.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
Florida requires that every driver have PIP coverage. PIP will cover your own lost wages and medical costs no matter who is at fault in the car accident.
How to Recover Lost Wages
There are multiple ways you can recover lost wages after a car accident. However, it’s important to know that you must prove the following in order to get compensation for your lost wages:
- You missed work due to injuries suffered in the accident
- The amount of money you would have made if you had not been injured.
You should collect information for your lawyer to properly determine the value of your lost wages claim, including:
- Your position at work
- Your rate of pay
- The number of hours missed
- Time off benefits used
Lost Wages for Self-Employed Individuals and Contractors
Self-employed workers may have difficulty proving their lost wages, but tax forms and bank statements can be helpful. Keep a careful record of all missed job opportunities while you are unable to work. You may also get statements from clients as well as potential clients.
If your car accident injuries resulted in permanent damage to your body, you may not be able to return to the work you once did. If you cannot earn the wage you used to collect, you have “diminished earnings.” You may be able to obtain compensation for the lifetime loss that you will have due to your diminished earning capacity.
Who Pays for Lost Wages?
When you have lost wages after a car accident, you will make an initial claim with your PIP insurance policy. If you exceed the maximum payout for your PIP policy, you can personally sue the at-fault party.
How an Attorney Can Help if You’re Unable to Work after a Car Accident
After a car accident, having an attorney who knows the system and can guide you through the process of recovering compensation is a great resource. They will compassionately listen to your story and determine the value of your lost wages and other damages. They can also handle all the stressful legal processes while you focus on recovering and getting back to your life.
Call David Fuchs for a Free Consultation
Attorney David Fuchs is available to review your case and help you understand your options. We know you may be unsure how to cover expenses while you’re not working. We have the resources and experience to help with those concerns.
Contact us today to speak with a team member and schedule your initial consultation.