How Much Time Should I Take Off Work After a Car Accident?


Injuries resulting from car accidents can range in severity and require a significant amount of time to heal. If you were injured in a car accident, you may need to take time off of work to recover, though how much time is appropriate may be in question.

One realistic way to gauge how much time you need to take off work is whether or not you have healed up enough to resume working. Your doctor will be able to give you the best estimate of how long you might be off work based on your injuries and will be able to assess you throughout the healing process to let you know when you can safely return to work.

The nature of your job and the types of injuries that you suffered will determine how much time you should take off work after a car accident. Some people can work remotely in a home office and resume work faster than someone who has a very physically involved job.

Ability to Pay Bills Might Be a Factor

You cannot earn money if you are not working, but the bills could pile up. Your ability to pay your bills while you are healing will factor into how long you think you should take off of work.

Fortunately, many people have paid sick leave and vacation time that they can use to offset a loss of income while taking time off of work to heal.

Whether you live alone or have a family, being a primary earner for your household also could make a difference. Your household might have no income because you are not working. You may wish to return to work sooner than your doctor might like, but the debts might make it necessary.

Modified Work Assignments Can Shorten Your Time Away

Another factor to consider is your employer’s willingness to modify your work assignment. If you request temporary work accommodations due to your physical condition, your employer should do so if at all possible.

Your accident injuries make you a disabled worker who is subject to disability protections. Denying a reasonable request for work accommodations so that you can resume work sooner might make your employer liable for disability discrimination.

Your doctor and a car accident attorney could help you to present strong arguments so that your employer will allow you to return to work with modified work assignments. Then you could resume earning income while you still are healing up from the accident.

Delaware Law Lets You Sue for Lost Wages

Delaware is a no-fault state for handling personal injuries that occur during car accidents. State law requires you to purchase personal injury protection (PIP), which automatically pays claims for your injuries regardless of who caused the accident.

When you file for and accept a PIP insurance claim settlement, you forgo the right to sue the other driver for your medical costs. The state’s no-fault law does not stop you from seeking compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and other harms caused by a negligent driver.

You could buy lost wages insurance in addition to a PIP plan. The additional coverage would pay up to policy limits for any lost wages that you might incur due to injuries suffered in a vehicular accident.

An experienced car accident lawyer can help you to determine what your legal options are for filing insurance claims and possibly suing an at-fault driver for the various harms that you suffered.

Medical Clearance May Be Required

You might feel well enough to do your job and want to return to work, but that does not mean you will do so immediately: your employer might require you to prove you are in good enough health to work safely again.

Most doctors will provide accident survivors with a note that informs their respective employers of their medical conditions and why they need to time off to heal. Most employers will require you to provide them with a subsequent doctor’s note that affirms you are in good health and it is safe for you to start working again.

The note might suggest you take on alternate light duties or give you full medical clearance to resume all normal work activities. A doctor’s diagnosis that gives you a medical clearance to resume work helps to protect your employer against liability if you aggravate an injury and need additional medical treatment.

Car Accident Injury Might Affect Workers’ Compensation Benefits

When you return to work, you should be aware that your car accident injuries might lead to more injuries. If you suffer an injury while working, your Workers’ Compensation claim might be denied.

The insurer underwriting Workers’ Compensation insurance might declare your injury to be a continuation of the injuries caused by the accident. Saying the injury is accident-related instead of work-related would give the insurer reason to deny your Workers’ Compensation claim.

You could challenge the decision with the help of an attorney and a medical diagnosis from a specialist. You would have to argue that a doctor medically cleared you to work and your employer knew any additional risks when you resumed your job.

Other Ways in Which a Car Accident Lawyer Could Help

A car accident lawyer also can help you to take the necessary time off of work to heal up by keeping debt collectors at bay. The attorney could do that by keeping third parties from contacting you or possibly harassing you over any related bills or insurance claims.

When you retain an attorney due to a car accident, all involved insurers would have to communicate with your attorney. So would any debt collectors if you happen to fall behind on your bills.

Your attorney also can help you to file strong insurance claims and possible legal claims against a driver who might have caused the accident. Other parties also might be liable for your injuries, such as the owner of a trucking company or some other entity that might have created a dangerous condition that caused the accident.

Accident Survivors Can Get Help From the Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow

Our experienced Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow are ready to defend your rights so you can focus on healing. Call us today at (302) 427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our law office in Wilmington, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.


Delaware Injury Lawyers

R & M Lawyers
Rhoades & Morrow

Our attorneys provide exceptional legal service with a personal touch. Since our founding in 1990, we have helped thousands of Delaware citizens obtain full and just compensation for personal injury claims. We have gained an excellent reputation as the “go to” law firm. Let us put our decades of experience to work for you.

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