Can I Include Paid Time Off or Sick Days in My Personal Injury Claim?
The last thing you need to worry about is losing your paid time off or sick leave due to an accident in which you weren’t even at fault! Imagine working all year to amass these days, only to meet in an accident.
Can I include this in my claim?
There is a school of thought that you cannot claim for paid time off or sick days because your employer pays you for these days anyway. This is simply untrue. You can claim for these from the party who injured you.
The damages claimed for in a personal injury suit are categorized into either economic or non-economic losses. Economic losses are easily quantifiable with the use of documentation. You have suffered an economic loss if you are forced to take sick or vacation days due to your injuries, making it impossible for you to work. PTO that you hadn’t intended to use has been used. You may have been saving these days for a trip at the end of the year. While you haven’t lost income for those days, you have suffered loss, regardless.
How does a claim for PTO actually work?
Let’s imagine your employer allots you five paid sick days per year. They are yours to use however you like, and any unused days carry over indefinitely, but you cannot convert them to cash. They have to be used.
But, you end up in an accident and are forced to miss two weeks of work. The company has employed you for two years; therefore, you’ve accrued ten sick days. You use all ten of your sick days to recover; therefore, you get paid in full for the two weeks in question. However, those ten sick days are now lost. Only if you continue working there for a further two years without taking any additional sick days will you be able to get them back.
While you were still paid for the days, you did not work, and you lost the freedom and flexibility to use those days however you pleased. Therefore, since you suffered a loss, you have the right to include those PTO hours in your damages.
Can I make this claim at any time?
The experienced attorneys at Springs Law Group are well-versed in the state laws of Colorado. Per the Colo. Rev. Stat. Sec, 13-80-101, you have three years from the accident date to bring an action.
Due to potential difficulties securing documentation and pushback that you would get from the insurance company of the opposing party, it is advised that you act quickly. If settlement negotiations fall through, it’s best to have your personal injury attorney prepared to take the matter to Court if you so desire.
Do I really need an attorney for this?
Your primary concern during this time should be recovery. The potential back and forth you will face when making this claim may delay your recovery.
Additionally, if you have truly suffered from an accident, this should not be the only claim that you make. A non-economic loss like paid and suffering should also be claimed, and a personal injury attorney is best suited to navigate those calculations and settlement negotiations with an insurance company or opposing counsel. It is best to have a personal injury attorney handle the entire claim.
How do I prove my case? And how much am I able to get?
If you sustained financial loss, you have a right to sue the defendant for that loss. This loss is relatively easy to prove. Using the example above, if your weekly salary is $500, you are qualified to file a claim for $1,000 in lost PTO. However, you must provide sufficient medical documentation to prove that the defendant’s negligence prevented you from working, as with all damages claims in a personal injury lawsuit. A note from your doctor stating that you were unable to work due to the accident and your injuries is typically considered enough medical proof, but things can get complicated.
What if you are in a line of work that allows you to pivot easily?
For example, what if you are an English teacher that broke your leg in an accident. It could be argued that the bulk of your work could be accomplished online from the comfort of your couch, leg elevated while you recover. However, you can’t take that camping trip you wanted with a broken leg. A competent and experienced attorney like the ones at Springs Law Group gives you a much better chance at success.
If you have lost paid time off or sick days due to an accident in which you were a victim, schedule a consultation with an attorney from Springs Law Group right here in Colorado. Find out what your rights are!