If you were injured in a car accident, you may feel overwhelmed with medical bills and your pain and suffering. Along with the unexpected bills may come the loss of wages due to an inability to return to work. In many cases, accident victims begin to face the growing bills and feel compelled to return to work as soon as possible. In other cases, injured victims simply want their lives to return to normal as soon as possible. However, in many cases returning to work can actually cause more damage and result in even more serious injuries. The following are some reasons you should seriously consider postponing returning to work after a bad car accident until you are fully healed.
Seek Medical Attention – In many cases, accident victims feel fine following a car accident and do not seek medical attention. It is imperative that you have a doctor examine you as quickly as possible after an accident. While you may feel fine, the accident could have caused internal injuries or trauma not yet felt due to stress or adrenaline. In some cases, injuries can take hours or days to appear. Additionally, some of these injuries such as internal organ damage or traumatic brain injuries can worsen if not treated by a medical professional. Before you even consider returning to work, you should be evaluated completely by a medical professional.
Focusing On Your Physical & Mental Health After An Accident
Each car accident is different, and each injury resulting from an accident is also different. The question of whether or not you should return to work should be answered by a medical professional familiar with your case. Medical professionals will only tell a person to miss work and stay home to recover after a car accident if it is necessary. Ignoring a doctor’s specific instructions to remain at home and heal could result in a longer healing process or even make your medical condition worse.
Many people return to work too quickly following a car accident and do not give themselves the time needed to completely heal. However, making the decision to return to work before an accident victim is healed can actually exacerbate their medical conditions, and in the worst cases make some medical conditions, such as traumatic brain injuries, permanent. If you do make the decision to return to work, document all of your symptoms, complications and prepare your doctor’s note to return to work with the assistance of your doctor. Your health should take priority over all else, and if your doctor says you should wait to return to work, you should take their recommendations seriously.
Focusing On Your Emotional Health – The emotional trauma after a bad car accident is often discounted, however, emotional and psychological pain and trauma are common after catastrophic car accidents. In fact, many victims of serious accidents later suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can last years or a lifetime. In fact, studies show that up to 10% of car accident victims are affected by PTSD. It is important that you take the time that you need to address the emotional trauma suffered after a car accident and the pain and suffering that accompanies that mental stress and anxiety. Make sure to visit with a therapist or other professional if you feel that the emotional toll is overwhelming.
Returning To Work and Your Insurance Claim
Oftentimes an insurance company will use the timeline a victim returns to work against them in a case. If you return to work too quickly, or against a doctor’s advice, the insurance company could argue that you were not injured as severely as you claimed and attempt to offer you a lower settlement. It is important to note that returning to work after you have healed is completely appropriate and will not be used against you in your claim, however. In fact, there are some cases where an accident victim takes no time off of work due to the recommendations of their doctor and is still able to file a claim for reimbursement of losses due to the accident. Visiting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you make this complex decision, and help you determine what your best course of action is for your health, and also to help you build a strong personal injury case.
Concerns About Money – You are likely concerned about money for your family if you are taking time off work following a car accident. Practically speaking, you should see if you are able to receive Social Security Disability Insurance payments if you are expecting that your injuries may leave you unable to return to work for a year or longer, and you also meet the other eligibility requirements. Additionally, you may visit with your employer and see if there is any type of work that you can do at home or for limited periods of time. Again, always visit with your doctor to make sure that this type of work is permissible given your specific medical condition.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Forcing yourself back into work after a serious car accident may make you feel that life is returning to normal and that you are able to pay your medical bills and other expenses related to the accident. However, returning to work too quickly can make your medical conditions worse or even permanent, and can damage you emotionally as well. Finally, returning to work against a doctor’s suggestion can work against you regarding your personal injury case, as an insurance company may use this information to claim you were not truly as injured as you originally indicated.
If you were in a car accident, suffered injuries and are attempting to determine whether or not you should return to work, contact Silverthorne Attorneys today. Our Orange County car accident lawyers can offer you a complimentary consultation of your case, and help you with your next steps. Call us at (949) 234-6034 or use our contact form online today.