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Lost wages can make up a significant portion of your damages in a personal injury case. Many victims of personal injury may feel pressured to return to work due to a lack of income, even without a doctor’s authorization. Others may believe that staying out of work, even if they have been authorized by a doctor to return, means they’ll receive more in damages. We’d like to discuss how both of these decisions can hurt your personal injury claim.
For many individuals, an entire loss of income due to a personal injury can create extreme financial and emotional hardship. Without financial stability, your life may come to a complete halt. Some personal injury cases can take years to resolve. There are legal funding services out there that will survey your case and may offer you a loan – one that you will not have to pay back if you lose your case. However, there are downfalls to these legal funding companies. Click here to learn about the downfalls of legal funding.
Naturally, if your financial instability becomes too burdensome on your life, you may think it’s alright to return to work even without a doctor’s authorization. You may not feel like you’re in pain anymore. But returning to work before a doctor has authorized you to do so could lead to another injury, especially if your profession requires physical exertion. Should you worsen your injury or incur another injury on the job, this can complicate your case. Firstly, it’s important that you follow the medical advice you’ve been given in order to properly recover from your injuries, and staying out of work may be a strict instruction. If you don’t follow these instructions, you may be putting both your recovery and your case at risk. Any confusion added between either exacerbated injuries or new injuries you’ve incurred by returning to work too soon will simply muddle your case. This is not an ideal scenario for your case or your recovery.
If you have been authorized by a doctor to return to work, it’s best that you return. Should you not, this could harm your case. Insurance companies will claim that you are being deceitful, attempting to augment your damages through lost wages. If you do still feel uncomfortable returning to work (if you are still in pain or do not believe you can handle your work duties yet), but a doctor is authorizing you to do so, you can seek out a second opinion. If your job does require physical exertion, speak with your employer regarding “light duty” – job duties that won’t require you to exert yourself too much.
You may have been hurt on the job due to third-party negligence and brought a claim against your employer. Don’t fear returning to work in this scenario. Remember that your company has insurance to protect themselves against personal injury claims. Should you win your case against them, the money is not coming out of their pocket. If your employer should, however, take action against you and dismiss you because of your claim, you can claim “unfair dismissal”. Should they treat you poorly to the point where you are forced to resign, you can claim “constructive dismissal”.