Do I Need to Stay Out Of Work?

I was injured in an accident and a lawyer told me I would have to stay out of work even though I can go back to work. Do I really need to stay out of work?

No. We never tell our clients to stay out of work! We leave that to you and your doctor.

We had a motorcycle accident client who said he wanted to go back to work as soon as he could and asked if that was okay with us. We said, of course. After a broken leg, the police surgeon let him go back to work as a motorcycle police officer six months later. The insurance company offered $100,000 to settle but we got $425,000 at a jury trial.

3 Reasons Why Accident Lawyers Want Their Clients to Stay Out Of Work

  1. Lost wages will increase the value of your case if you settle with the insurance company claims representative. However, it can reduce the value of your case at trial.
  2. If you had a car accident and you do not have a fracture or broken bone, it is probable that your case will not be dismissed if you stay out of work completely (not even restricted duty) and are totally disabled without being able to leave your home except for doctor visits.
  3. An accident attorney may want to present your lost wages to a jury if your case goes to trial.

Why Should I Go Back to Work?

  1. You need to make money to pay your bills!
  2. The true cost of your lost income is far more than you realize (see below).
  3. If you claim lost income and are self-employed, the defense will have a forensic accountant go through your tax returns with a fine-tooth comb and find little problems to make you look like a cheater at the time of your trial.
  4. If you are a salaried employee, in most cases, claiming lost wages will diminish the perceived value of your injury unless your lost wages are significant and long-term (it doesn’t look good to claim $8,000 in lost wages when we’re claiming your injury is worth $1 million). If you have a fracture, broken bone, or surgery, lost wages won’t help you get more money unless they are significant and the defendant’s insurance policy is huge.
  5. It’s psychologically and physically important for you to go back to work after an injury.
  6. If your case goes to trial, going back to work will show the jury that you’re not trying to milk the system and that like everyone else, you need to work even if you’re suffering from pain.

What Will I Lose If I Do Not Go Back to Work?

  1. Of course, the amount of money you would have made while you are out of work.
  2. If you contribute money to a retirement plan, the small loss of your contributions while you’re out of work can add up to a lot over the remainder of your lifetime.
  3. Your Social Security benefits may be affected.
  4. Your career earning power may decrease.

Employee struggling to climb the corporate ladder after staying out of work because of an accident and injury

What Can I Do for Money If I Can’t Go Back to Work?

If you cannot go back to work because of the injuries from your accident and you still haven’t gone back to work by the time we settle your case or the time of trial, we can use your lost wages to increase the value of your case.

If you need money to pay your living expenses when you are unable to work because of the injuries you suffered in an accident, there are a few things you may be able to do:

  • If you were injured in a car accident, No-Fault insurance will pay you disability payments when you cannot work.
  • If you were employed at the time of your accident, you might have disability insurance coverage through your employer which will pay you while you are unable to work.
  • If you are self-employed, you might have purchased disability insurance coverage which will pay you while you are unable to work.
  • You could “borrow” money as a “loan” on your accident case. This is not really a loan but in advance on your case and carries a hefty interest rate which is paid at the end of your case.

Disability payments because of lost wages from an accident

See more answers to FAQs

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Attorney Phil FranckelPhilip L. Franckel, Esq. is the author of all articles and content on this website.

Mr. Franckel is a personal injury lawyer, Founding Partner of 1-800-HURT-911® New York, President of 1-800-HURT-911, Inc., and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. He has a 10 Avvo Rating, Avvo Client’s Choice Award with all 5-star reviews,  and Avvo Top Contributor. See Mr. Franckel’s bio.

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Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

1-800-HURT-911® Founding Partner and Personal Injury Lawyer Rob Plevy, Esq.

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Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Rob began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.

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