The possibility of being involved in a car accident is frightening. It’s nerve-wracking thinking about how you’ll pay the bills if you can’t work for a period of time. Although you can recover damages after a car accident, you’ll have to wait to receive your money, and in the meantime, your boss might let you go.
It sounds harsh, but if your employment is at-will, your employer can fire you with or without cause – something 43% of people fear.
There is an exception that might save your job
Your loss can’t fire you if you’re covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the FMLA, you’re entitled to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for a “serious health condition that makes [you] unable to perform the essential functions of [your] job.” If your injuries qualify, you should apply for FMLA leave immediately.
To qualify for FMLA leave, you need to have been employed with your current company for 12 months, worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the last 12 months, and your employer needs to have 50 or more employees within a 75 miles radius of the worksite.
To request FMLA leave, talk to your boss to make the request and fill out the paperwork. If you’re expected to recover from your injuries within 12 weeks you should be fine.
You can recover lost wages
Whether you’re fired or you take FMLA to leave, you’re not earning a paycheck and that’s a problem. However, you can recover lost wages by filing a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim allows you to recover compensation for lost wages, lost earning capacity, and future lost wages.
If you were injured while driving on the job, your employer is legally responsible for your injuries. If that’s your situation, consult a personal injury attorney before filing a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ comp claims are limited and may not cover all your expenses.
To learn more about personal injury claims and potential damages, read this article titled Recovering Lost Wages in Personal Injury Cases published by Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers.
Not all employers fire injured employees
It’s understandable if you fear to lose your job, but that fear might be unfounded. It could be presumptuous to assume your boss will fire you. Talk to your boss and ask them to be direct with you. You might be surprised to learn you have a compassionate, understanding boss who needs to replace you but will help you find an appropriate position when you return to work.
If you don’t qualify for FMLA, and you’re working a retail job for a large corporation, your boss might need to hire someone to replace you and drop you from payroll. If you miss a certain number of workdays, they may have no choice but to let you go according to corporate policy.
You might be covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act
If your employer has at least 15 employees, you’re covered under the ADA if your injury resulted in a qualified disability. Under the ADA, your employer may need to provide you with time off as a “reasonable accommodation” to receive your treatment.
A qualifying disability is one that substantially limits a major life activity (like walking, talking, seeing, hearing, or learning) or a major impairment expected to last more than six months.
If you do get fired, you can find another job
Losing a job isn’t the end of the world. If your boss wasn’t able to keep you on, it could be a wonderful opportunity to start a new career or look for a job you’ll enjoy. Even if you can’t function exactly as you did in the past, there are plenty of jobs you can do. With a positive attitude, you’ll find the right job that will make any accommodations you need.
You don’t need to go without a paycheck after an accident
One way or another, you will find a source of income after a car accident. Whether you recover lost wages in a personal injury case or find a better job, a car accident doesn’t have to mean the end of your income. The best thing to do is to contact a lawyer to discuss your options. With a lawyer, you could recover more compensation than you think.