If your injuries are severe enough that they prevent you from working, then you should take time off work. It is important that your medical providers are given enough information about your injuries so that they can fully and properly document those injuries. This means obtaining prompt medical attention and being very thorough when explaining how you feel.
Once your doctors identify and document the severity of your injuries, they may recommend that you take time off work, especially if you’re at risk of the same injury again. It is important to realize that some injuries, even if they seem relatively minor, can become more serious if you continue to exert your body. This is true of repetitive stress injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome, but also injuries like hairline fractures, concussions, and soft tissue strains or sprains.
Your doctor’s recommendation should be documented to provide corroborating evidence of your need to rest. Such documentation will be used at trial to prove that your lost time from work, and the associated lost wages, were reasonable and necessary. Remember to get a copy of your medical records, or at least write down the date of each appointment, along with the name of your doctor. For more serious injuries, you might visit several specialists, and your attorney will need medical information from all of them.
Both employees and independent contractors can qualify for damages to cover lost income or lost wages. The key is properly documenting how much you make. If you are a salaried employee, or if you have a regular work schedule, then this is relatively easy. You can keep copies of your most recent pay stubs, which your attorney can use to calculate how much you have lost.
Remember, you can receive compensation for lost wages even if you use sick time provided by an employer. This does not prevent you from getting damages.
For those who are self-employed or independent contractors/gig economy workers, documenting income is even more vital. These people can still qualify for damages for lost income, but the key is showing how much you likely would have made with some degree of certainty. Ideally, you will have kept careful records showing how much you typically earn each month for the past year. If you signed some short-term contracts that you had to break, then those are helpful also.
Talk to your lawyer if you have questions. When it comes to lost income, the issue usually in dispute is showing with some degree of certainty how much you lost. A court will not accept a guess.
Serious disabilities might make it impossible to return to work at all. For example, an amputation could force a warehouse worker to find a sedentary job. A serious traumatic brain injury might prevent someone from working more than a couple hours a day.
When our clients suffer a permanent impairment, they lose out on the ability to earn income in the future. Fortunately, Nevada law allows victims to seek compensation for loss of earnings capacity, which is the term that refers to your earning power in the future. For example, if you made $70,000 driving a big rig and now can only sit at a desk as a receptionist making $25,000, you will lose out on a lot of money going forward.
After suffering an injury, many people are afraid that they might be laid off. This is a real possibility for many people, especially if they do not have an employment contract. Nevada is an at-will state, which gives employers enormous power to lay someone off for almost any reason. Workers do have some protections, though:
If you were injured on the job, the workers’ compensation system might prohibit you being laid off as you recover from your accident.
You might also qualify to take time off per an employment contract or the Family and Medical Leave Act.
You can also talk to your employer about possibly working from home, which might be an option if you do office work. An employer needs to grant a reasonable accommodation if your injuries prevent you from coming into work. Due to recent events, more employers are getting comfortable letting workers telecommute, and you should check whether this is an option.
The worst thing you could do for your case is to be filmed going around town doing errands or posting social media updates about your travels while you are supposed to be recovering. Doing this suggests that you are not really injured and could possibly return to work.
Admittedly, the truth is usually more complicated. You might live alone and feel good enough to buy groceries and run other errands, even if you are too injured to return to work. That’s understandable. But the less info you give the other side, the better. We recommend letting social media accounts go dark immediately following an accident.
Ladah Law Firm is one of the leaders in Nevada representing injured victims in civil lawsuits. For help, please contact us today by calling 702-252-0055.