Too Injured to Work after a Car Accident. Now What?

In this blog, we will discuss what to do after suffering long-term or permanent injuries due to a car accident that affect your ability to work. Read on to learn compensatory options for temporary or permanent loss of employment.

Automobile Accident Injuries Ruin Lives and Careers

Cars enable you to travel from home to work and back again conveniently. In Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, having a vehicle is a must for getting around. However, when a crash interrupts your commute, it can impact your life well beyond the collision. Serious injuries could leave you unable to work for days, weeks, months… or ever again. Besides the pain you are experiencing and concerns about whether you might fully recover, you now must worry about a reduction or loss of income.

What recourse do you have should the worst happen? Let’s examine the realities of what you are facing, along with the legal options you have, to make sure you can survive financially following a devastating auto accident.

Examples of Long-term and Permanent Crash Injuries

While not every car accident results in serious injuries, those that do alter the lives of not only the victim, but their family. The following are three types of injury that frequently derail career and life plans:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI). These injuries can affect your cognitive abilities, memory, and physical control of your body. While recovery may be possible in certain cases, typically TBIs leave you with lifelong health challenges that make work challenging to impossible.
  • Back and spinal cord injuries. Spinal damage involves frequent or constant pain to varying degrees. Such injuries can make it hard to stand, sit, walk, or lift and carry objects. And if your spinal cord is damaged, you might experience limited mobility or total paralysis. Depending on the extent of your back injuries and the kind of work you do, surgery and other rehabilitative treatment may not solve these issues.
  • Broken bones and amputation. It is common for those involved in auto accidents to experience a broken arm, leg, ribs, or other bones. Even simple fractures require time to heal, and you’ll likely need bed rest for a period to aid in recovery. However, some breaks are more serious, especially those where you lose use of a limb or need to have it amputated. Besides the obvious trauma, your ability to perform your job duties might be limited or impossible.

Loss of Income and California Law

While the California Fair Employment and Housing Act requires most employers to offer reasonable accommodations to someone with a physical or mental disability to perform the “essential functions” of a given job, there is a caveat: “…unless it would cause undue hardship” for the employer. This means that if standard accommodations still do not enable you to perform the work required, you might still wind up unemployed.

Perhaps you are counting on federal law to protect your job and income while you recover. However, the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) only helps to protect your job for a limited time while you are unable to work. It is also an unpaid leave, so though you might be given time to recover, you are not guaranteed the ability to afford the time off. As for the California Family Rights Act, it can offer you the time away from work needed without losing your job for a limited period (12 weeks). However, it also does not require your employer to pay you during this time.

Although California’s Paid Family Leave Program protects benefits for your spouse or other family member who takes time away from work to care for you, this coverage doesn’t apply to you as the injured party. You can pursue short- or long-term disability insurance coverage, which may give you some percentage of your income, but most likely not the amount you were earning from a full-time, permanent job.

While these laws help to protect California residents from losing their jobs and provide some income protection, ultimately they do not offer sufficient income security for accident victims. While short leaves for recovery, with reduced or no pay, might not leave you in serious financial straits, permanent injuries that affect your ability to work in the career you had (or preclude new employment) very likely will. This is why you need to contact an attorney capable of securing the level of compensation needed to make up for your lost wages—now and in the future.

Los Angeles Auto Accident Lawyer Pursues Lost Wages

Beyond compensation for your physical injuries and property losses, a competent car accident attorney will seek coverage for the wages lost due to your accident. These may include the cash equivalent of vacation time you had to take before legally mandated leave kicked in, income lost during your recovery, and the loss of future earnings you would have brought home had an accident not cost you your job. Rather than facing financial ruin because of devastating injuries and the loss of your career, your attorney will hold those responsible for the crash accountable.

Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation understands the fears that accident victims face in the aftermath of a crash that changes their physical capabilities and derails their careers. Our attorney, Scott, will identify all the lost wage coverage to which you are entitled and see to it that you receive everything you deserve. Don’t take a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to earning ability following a car accident—call our office now.

Contact our office today by calling (310) 683-2300 or filling out the online contact form to discuss the details of your case and learn more about how we can help you. We offer free consultations, so there’s no reason not to reach out to someone from our team right away.