Can Your Company Fire You if You Miss Work Due to a Car Accident Injury?

Getting into a car accident comes with a long list of misfortunes — the initial shock, physical injuries, damage to your car, anger towards the other motorist involved, and the constant worry about whether this will turn into a long litigation process. As if those concerns weren’t bad enough, you may also be wondering how this is going to affect your job. Will you have to miss a lot of time from work? Will this be a recurring issue? And, can your boss fire you if you miss too much work as a result of the injuries?

Will I get fired for missing work due to a car accident injury?

Florida is an at-will employment state. This means that either you or your employer may terminate the employment relationship at any time — with or without reason or advanced warning. Unless you had a contract with your employer stating the opposite, the default status is at will. Even if you had a contract, it likely has a provision that states specific instances when the term of the agreement could be severed. Review it to determine whether your car accident would fall into one of those conditions. While there are instances when termination would be illegal — such as discrimination, reporting sexual harassment to the authorities, or retaliating against a whistleblower — your employer may have a good faith basis of letting you go if a car accident is preventing you from complying with your work responsibilities.

Recovering Loss Wages

When you file a claim for a car accident injury, you plead the court to grant every single one of your damages. This includes present lost wages — and if your injuries require long-term treatment or have resulted in permanent disability — loss of future earnings. This is determined through a process called discovery. You will need to provide pay stubs, tax returns, and evidence of your educational background and experience. Your lawyer may also request the testimony from your physician and/or a vocational expert. If your injury is permanent, you’ll also have to prove the following:

1. The disability is a result of the accident.

2. The disability has an effect on your employment prospects (e.g. if you lost a toe but work at a desk job, even though there’s a permanent injury/disfigurement, it wouldn’t have an effect on your ability to perform your job duties).

You’ll also have to show that your ability to work has either been diminished presently or that the number of years you’ll be able to work in the future is now reduced — for example, if you work doing manual labor and your injuries have affected your back, or if you are in a white-collar profession and the injury continues to cause memory loss or is likely to cause early-onset dementia.

When calculating future earnings, the vocational expert will take into account your current income, as well as reasonably expected raises and promotions within your career, inflation, investments, and retirement income. Anticipated profits cannot be speculative. You can also recover future earnings if the injury or disability results in you having to take a lower salary job.

Additional factors to be considered by the court when making this determination include:

  • Your age
  • Overall health
  • Earnings history
  • Income earned since the accident
  • Your ability to compete in the labor market

All future earnings are reduced to the net pay of what you would’ve received if you could continue working. However, personal injury settlements in Florida are not taxable — neither by the state or federal government.

Call Us at Clark Law for a Consultation

If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. The longer you wait, the higher the chance of missing the opportunity to file for certain damages, or obtain reliable evidence for your case.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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