What if I Have to Use My Paid Time Off After a Crash Injury?

paid time off sheetSome injuries leave accident victims unable to work. This causes victims to use their paid time off (PTO) while they are recovering. Fortunately, you may be able to include this in your lost wages claim and get paid back for the hours you used.

However, the insurance company may try to argue that you were paid for the time, and therefore they should not be required to pay for those PTO hours you lost.

However, this is not entirely true. Our Sacramento auto collision lawyers are prepared to help you through this legal process to help recover full compensation. This includes compensation for the PTO you were forced to use while dealing with your injuries.

How Does Taking PTO for an Injury Affect a Car Crash Claim?

In California, employers are required to provide some paid sick leave for employees dealing with physical injuries, even if the person is a part-time or seasonal employee. The minimum requirements are as follows:

  • Employees must accrue at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked
  • Employers must allow unused paid sick leave to carry over into the next year

This means you will be paid for at least some of the time you need to recover from your injuries. However, it depends on your employer’s PTO policy.

The insurance company will try to argue that they should not pay out claims for lost wages if the injured party was paid while he or she was recovering.

You may be able to argue that you would have used your sick leave for other things if you did not get injured, such as:

  • Regular checkups with your doctor
  • Dental appointments
  • Taking your children, spouse or another family member to the doctor

You could argue you were forced to use your sick leave for dealing with your injuries because of another’s negligence.

Sometimes, accident victims do not have enough sick leave and they are forced to use their vacation or personal days. This provides a stronger counterargument to the insurance company. You are entitled to vacation and personal days away from work. If someone else’s negligent actions forced you to use those hours to deal with an injury instead of enjoying time away, you should be able to recover compensation for that lost time.

Can I Choose to Take Unpaid Time Off to Recover From My Injuries?

An accident victim who does not have available PTO may be able to take unpaid time off.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for employees dealing with a medical issue. This includes an injury from an accident. However, this only applies to employers with more than 50 employees.

The important thing to remember is that you will not be paid for the time away from work. Therefore, you can claim the wages you lose during your leave.

If you can successfully link your lost wages to the negligent actions of another person, the insurance company may be forced to pay out your claim for lost wages.

How Does Compensation for PTO After a Crash Work?

If you were forced to take PTO to deal with your injuries, your employer will not be required to give back the time off you were allotted.

Instead, you will be compensated for the hours you were forced to take off. The exact amount should be calculated by your hourly rate and the hours you took off work. For example, if your doctor ordered a week’s worth of rest, you may be able to claim compensation for the 40 hours multiplied by your hourly rate.

It is important to work with an attorney who has experience linking your injuries and your lost wages to the negligence of another driver.

Why Would the Insurance Company Deny My PTO Claim?

Aside from any arguments over whether you were still paid while dealing with your injuries, the insurance company may also try and argue your lost time at work had nothing to do with the accident.

They may even try to argue that your injuries were not serious enough to leave you unable to work for a week or more. You may be able to counter this by showing proof of your medical records and notes from your treating doctor. Your doctor may be able to testify on your behalf that your injuries were serious and that you did need to take time away from work to properly heal.

Lost Time at Work Due to an Injury? Call Us Today

The insurance company is always going to look for any reason to deny or underpay a claim. You need an experienced attorney who is willing to fight back on your behalf.

Our attorneys have decades of experience helping accident victims pursue the compensation they need. We also have a proven track record of successfully recovering said compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages.

Free consultation. No upfront fees. Call 916-777-7777 today.