Should I Be in a Hurry to Return to Work After a Personal Injury?

Recently, accidental injuries became the number three cause of death in the U.S. for the first time according to figures from the National Safety Council. In one year alone, fatalities from preventable injuries rose 10%. Americans are hurt every second on average, and someone loses their life every three minutes in our nation.

Preventable events include things like auto and truck accidents, drowning incidents, poisoning, falls, and workplace accidents. If you’ve been involved in an accident, your priority should be your health and well-being. But what if you have bills to pay and need to get back to work? When you should return to work after an accident depends on a variety of factors, but it might not be the best idea to rush back to your job if you’re hurt.

When Do You Have to Return to Work?

You don’t have to return to work after an injury but failing to do so at the proper time could put your job in jeopardy. Like nearly all states, Connecticut is an “employment-at-will” state, meaning an employer can generally terminate their relationship with an employee for any reason and at any time. But there are some exceptions.

If you have an employment contract or are part of a collective bargaining agreement, your employer isn’t supposed to fire you without cause. You also have protections for military service, jury duty, and certain other court appearances.

Assuming your injury is work-related and covered by workers’ compensation insurance, your employer is required to hold your job or something equivalent open as long as you are still trying to return to work.

But what if you were in a car accident or had a slip and fall at a neighbor’s house? Unfortunately, employers don’t owe you the same consideration, but you do have some options.

Time Off of Work for Non-Work-Related Injuries

As a general rule, you can’t demand that your employer do much for you after you’ve been injured, except what is required by law. The good news is that you do have some rights, and probably a few benefits, that you can use for time off after an injury that was not work-related.

Paid Sick and Vacation Leave

Many employees accrue paid sick and vacation leave, although this is not granted by law for private enterprises. Although you can’t demand it, you can ask to be allowed to take your sick and vacation leave while you recover from your injury.

Leave Under the Family Medical Leave Act

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives injured or sick employees and immediate family members up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a long list of covered conditions. After 12 weeks, you are supposed to get your same position back or one that is equivalent.

Work Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

You may be able to return to work only part-time or to light duty if you qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If your injury or illness qualifies, this requires that an employer transfer you to a position, if it is available, or make reasonable accommodations.

The Dangers of Returning to Work Too Quickly

When you’ve been seriously injured, it’s not always the best idea to return to work immediately. As an employee, you have value for your company, and you probably need the wages and benefits. But, heading back to work too soon might not be in the best interests of either you or your employer.

If you have a work-related injury, you can’t return to work until you have a medical release from your treating physician. If you are released to light duty, and your employer makes this available, you’ll need to return to your job, or you will forfeit your benefits.

When it comes to non-work-related injuries, you should likewise wait until a doctor clears you to return to work. If you go back to work too soon, there’s a chance that you’ll suffer an additional injury on the job.

Assuming a physician does release you to return to work, it’s always possible that you might not feel physically or emotionally ready. In this situation, you can request a second opinion before taking any action that could jeopardize your health or the outcome of a pending injury claim.

When It’s Time to Get Help with Your Injury

Knowing what to do and where to turn after an injury can be confusing when you are faced with physical and financial challenges. At the Dodd Law Firm, we advocate for the rights of accident injury victims throughout Connecticut.

Contact our office today at 203-272-1883 or message us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Out of State Car Accident

Traveling out-of-state is stressful enough, thanks to booking hotel rooms, trying to navigate an unfamiliar area, and familiarizing yourself with local speed limits and signage. It gets even worse when you’re involved in a car crash far from home. How do you get your vehicle repaired and back home? Will your trip have to be extended? How are you supposed to fight for compensation when you don’t even live where the accident happened?

You don’t have to go through this time alone. Working with an attorney local to the accident location can help you minimize your stress and focus on getting back home. Call the Dodd Law Firm at 475-275-8649 for help with your Cheshire, CT car accident.

Factors That Complicate Out-of-State Collisions

There are lots of different factors that turn an already-stressful car accident into an absolute nightmare. Read more about them below:

  • You’re dealing with different laws. No matter how familiar you are with accident laws in your home state, that knowledge may be irrelevant when you’re injured out of state. Consider, for example, contributory negligence states. If you’re from a state where you can recover compensation as long as you are less than 50% at fault, you may expect that to be the standard everywhere. Then you’re injured in an Alabama car accident, and you find out that if you are even 1% at fault you cannot be compensated for the crash. There are many state-specific laws that apply here.
  • The other driver knows the laws and locale better than you. The other driver may know local roads and laws, which may help them when it comes time to talk to the police.
  • You may not even be able to seek compensation from the other driver. If you’re hurt in a state with no-fault insurance laws, you may not be able to seek compensation from the other driver—even if they are clearly at fault. In no-fault states, both parties are compensated by their own insurance companies.
  • If your case goes to court, it will be in the state where the accident occurred. After an experience like this, you probably don’t want to go back to that state any time soon. Unfortunately, if your case goes to court, you may have to. This adds additional stress, time, and unexpected costs to your case.
  • A lawyer in your home state may not be able to help you. You will likely need an attorney who is licensed in the state where the accident occurred. This means you can’t use any of your local connections or resources to find the best attorney for your situation.

What About Your Insurance?

Fortunately, your insurance policy doesn’t change from state to state. Report the accident to them in a timely manner, cooperate with their investigation, and know that you’ll likely still get the same service and coverage that you would get for an accident at home.

Your Next Steps

We know you’re overwhelmed and frustrated by your situation, but don’t lose hope. You have options. We recommend:

  • Talking to an attorney. Find an attorney licensed in the state where the accident occurred. They can give you an overview of the state’s personal injury and motor vehicle crash laws, and if they are familiar with your home state, they can explain how those laws differ. Find out how these differences may affect your claim and what you should do next.
  • Holding off on talking to the other party’s insurance company. The other party’s insurance provider may come after you fairly quickly, looking for a recorded statement or your side of the story. Don’t talk to them yet. Wait until you have advice from your attorney before moving forward.
  • Seeking medical care. It’s crucial to get checked out after an accident. You’ll want immediate detection and treatment for life-threatening injuries that may be lying in wait.

Reach Out to the Team at the Dodd Law Firm Now

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Connecticut, we’re here to help. Schedule a consultation with the Dodd Law Firm now to learn more about your options. Just reach out online or call our team at 475-275-8649.