Car accidents frequently upend the lives of survivors, especially if an injury requires weeks or more of recovery time. You may find yourself having no choice but to miss work, but your bills won’t take a vacation just because you aren’t able to head back to your job quite yet. That means you could very quickly burn through all your hard-earned benefits, such as paid personal or sick days.

How PTO Is Handled in Virginia Car Crash Cases

After the crash, you have a legal right to pursue compensation for your damages through insurance or a personal injury lawsuit, and part of those damages are lost wages. Your overall income isn’t just the amount you take home with each paycheck, however. It also includes those sick days, vacation time, or paid time off (PTO) hours included as part of Woman Injured in Car Crash on a Couch With Broken Legyour employment that you had to use up while recovering.

You wouldn’t have needed to go through those benefits if you hadn’t been hurt in a car wreck, which makes the negligent party liable for their loss. That means you can potentially recover compensation for PTO used after the crash if you had to:

  • Stay in the hospital
  • Recover at home 
  • Take days off to deal with insurance or talk to your attorney
  • Travel to seek medical treatment or rehabilitative therapy at a different location

Unfortunately, those PTO days will no longer be available as a backup if you get sick or have to take additional time off in the future for some other emergency. While an insurance settlement or court judgement won’t return used hours to your PTO bank at work, they can include a dollar amount reflecting the lost PTO. That amount is calculated at the same rate as whatever you would have earned if you had worked those days.

Depending on the severity of your injuries, it’s unlikely all of your available PTO will even cover the actual timeframe necessary to physically recover. It’s entirely possible you may have to simply take off unpaid days or even lose your job entirely while dealing with the accident’s physical toll. That’s why full and fair calculations of your lost income should include:

  • Any employment benefits you couldn’t utilize or perks you lost out on while recovering
  • Hourly wages from missed days
  • Overtime you would have typically worked
  • Salaried pay
  • Scheduled raises you missed out on
  • Self-employment income
  • Vacation days, paid sick leave, PTO, etc.

If You Used PTO After a Car Accident, You Need an Attorney

Securing the assistance of a legal professional is crucial to recovering the full cost of all your damages, including paid time off. After getting a medical checkup at the emergency room, your next step after any car crash is to call a lawyer with experience in Virginia car accident cases.

The simple act of having an attorney handle communication with your insurance provider makes it more likely they will provide the full amount you deserve. That amount needs to factor in all of the ways the accident impacted your life, including using vacation days or other benefits.

A lawyer’s job is to investigate the accident and prove negligence from the at-fault party, as well as showing the specific economic damages you sustained. Evidence showcasing that your PTO had to be used due to the injury and should be included in your compensation can include:

  • Employment documents and handbooks
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Medical records
  • Pay stubs
  • Photo and video evidence
  • Union contracts
  • W-2s and other tax paperwork

Speak With a Virginia Car Accident Attorney for Help

Whether you missed a week at the office or end up permanently unable to return to the workforce, you need an experienced legal professional on your side. The Mottley Law Firm wants to fight for your legal rights and assist in your financial recovery after an accident. Schedule a consultation to let us know the details of your car accident injury case.


Kevin W. Mottley
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Richmond, VA trial lawyer dedicated to handling brain injuries, car accidents and other serious injury claims