Accident victims who suffer significant injuries may be unable to work for an extended period. Victims whose employers have provided sick days, vacation days or personal days are likely going to use them to help limit their lost income.
If you used your paid time off (PTO) while recovering from accident injuries, you may be able to get compensation for those hours. Call our South Bend car crash attorneys today to discuss your legal options. The consultation is free, and there are no upfront fees.
Can I Use PTO to Recover From My Injuries?
In Indiana, employers are not legally obligated to provide paid time off to employees. Employers can also set the rules for when you can use PTO.
Most people may be able to use their sick days to go to doctor’s appointments. They may also use some of their PTO while they are recuperating from the crash, as soreness and discomfort may keep them from working.
If the person’s injuries are extensive and require surgery, he or she may need to use vacation days if an employer does not provide enough sick leave. However, employers may have the discretion to allow or not allow an employee to use vacation time because he or she cannot work.
What if I Choose to Take Unpaid Time Off?
Victims whose injuries are more extensive may need to take an extended leave of absence from work. In this case, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies. Companies with more than 50 employees are legally obligated to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to employees dealing with a medical issue.
Keep in mind that FMLA does not require employers to pay employees during those 12 weeks. It only requires them to hold their job.
Can I Recover the PTO I Lost?
This is a complex question. Technically, you cannot recover the time off you lost. But you may be able to recover monetary compensation for the paid time off you used.
When you file an accident claim, you can include lost wages as part of your demands to the insurance company. If your claim is successful, the compensation you are paid at the end of the claim would include the money for hours you should have used for vacation but used while you were healing.
For example, you could claim compensation for the 40 hours of PTO you used because your doctor ordered a week’s worth of rest. Although you were paid for the time you took off, you did not use that time to go on vacation. Your attorney may be able to argue that you should get compensated for that since you would have gone on a vacation if it had not been for the negligence of another person.
How Will the Insurance Try and Deny My Claim?
The insurance company will try to deny your PTO claim by arguing that you did not lose wages because you took paid leave.
While it is true that you did not lose a paycheck, your claim should get denied outright. You have the right to choose how to spend your PTO, and if someone else’s negligence causes you to take the time off for something other than a vacation you should be able to pursue compensation for that.
How Do I Prove My Time Off Was Taken to Recover From My Injuries?
To recover compensation for PTO and other lost wages, you must prove your injuries kept you from working.
Notes from your doctor can attest to his or her recommendation of the time off you needed to recover from the accident. If your case makes it to court, your doctor may testify about this on your behalf.
Testimony from your employer, coworkers or loved ones may also help. Your employer can discuss how your injuries affected your work functions and whether he or she required you to take the time off. Your coworker’s statements may reflect those of your employer. Your loved ones’ testimony may help the most, as these people know you best and can attest to the effects of the injuries on your life.
Let Us Help. Call Today
If you were forced to take time off work due to your injuries after an accident, you may be able to recover compensation for the PTO you used.
Call our knowledgeable attorneys today to discuss your claim. We do not charge you anything up front. There are no fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf.
Call (844) 678-1800 to schedule a free consultation.