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Returning to Work After Car Accident in CA

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A serious car crash can upend your life. Injured accident victims are often unable to work for weeks or months while they recover, as medical bills start to pile up in the meantime. Many employers offer only limited paid time off, assuming the injured party is a full-time employee as opposed to part-time or independent contractor. There’s a strong incentive to get back to work as soon as possible, but if you are truly hurt, that can lead to additional injuries and complications down the line. If you were hurt in a car crash and you are considering whether to get back to work, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Read on for things to consider when deciding whether and when to go back to work after a crash. If you’ve been hurt in a Southern California traffic accident, call a knowledgeable Calabasas car accident attorney for advice and assistance.

Workers’ Compensation Covers Lost Wages If You Were Hurt on the Job

If your injury happened on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp covers workers injured at work or while performing job-related tasks, regardless of the cause of the injury (with very limited exceptions). Workers’ comp benefits include coverage for your medical expenses as well as a portion of your lost wages.

You can recover two-thirds of your average lost wages, subject to California state minimums and maximums. As of 2022, if you are totally unable to work, you are guaranteed the state minimum coverage of $203.44 per week, and you can receive up to the state maximum of $1,356.31 in lost wages. Filing for workers’ comp is separate from pursuing a personal injury claim and can help you get compensation quickly while your personal injury claim proceeds.

You Can Recover Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Suit

If you were injured outside the workplace, or if the person who caused your accident does not work for your company, you might have a personal injury claim. You could file a claim against an at-fault driver if they caused your crash and you were injured as a result. California drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance in case they are at fault for an accident. If their policy limits do not meet your damages, or if the insurance company refuses to settle for a reasonable amount, you might need to commence a personal injury lawsuit. Consult with a personal injury attorney about how much your case may be worth and how to recover all of your damages.

Personal injury damages include any wages you lost as a result of your injuries, including the time you were unable to work at all as well as if you were only able to work part-time or modified shifts. Even if you secured workers’ comp coverage, you could seek additional damages in a personal injury suit to cover the remainder of your lost wages. If you are concerned about returning to work before you are ready, and someone else caused your injuries, remember: You can be compensated for your lost income. Your personal injury lawyer can help ensure that you get complete coverage for the wages you’ve lost.

You Can Recover Lost Wages Even if You’re on Paid Leave
Many employers offer paid leave in the form of sick days or vacation days. You may be forced to use up your paid time off (PTO) days in order to keep earning income while you recover from your injuries. Using your PTO can help you stay financially stable while you recover, but it can hurt you in the long run; you’ll be left without any PTO for the rest of the year.

Thankfully, the law understands that you should not be punished for relying on your PTO if you were hurt by someone else. Your personal injury claim for lost wages can include reimbursement for the paid time off you were forced to take while recovering. While you might not be able to get those sick days or vacation days back, you can at least recover the value of those days in cash, giving you a buffer to take unpaid leave later on if necessary.

Trust Your Doctor: Go Back to Work When It’s Right

At-fault drivers and insurance companies will try to limit your compensation at all stages. If you are missing work because of your injuries, make sure you have documented medical evidence to support you. Consult with your treating physician about your injuries and make sure they conduct a full evaluation of your ability to work. If your doctor says that you should not go back to work because of your pain, functional limitations, or danger of aggravating an injury, follow their recommendations. Their diagnoses and prognoses will serve as evidence when you ultimately need to prove that your time away from work was necessary.

Call Today for Dedicated, Effective Representation From a Successful Southern California Auto Accident Lawyer

If you or someone you care about has been injured in a traffic accident in Southern California, the passionate and dedicated personal injury legal team at the Halpern Law Firm is here to help. We fight to get you the compensation you and your family deserve. Call us at 818-785-5999 today for a Free No-Risk Confidential Consultation. These cases are handled on a contingency basis, meaning you won’t be charged any attorney’s fees unless we win.

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