When a minor is injured in a car accident, many questions arise. The biggest concern is your child's health and safety. Sprains and strains are some of the most common injuries from car accidents and require appropriate medical treatment to resolve. Of course, some injuries are even more serious and demand intensive treatment. What happens if you have to take time off work to take your minor to doctors' appointments? Will the insurance company reimburse lost wages?
If your child is injured and you miss work to take him or her to medical appointments, you will need proper documentation in order to have the best chance of recovering your lost income from the insurance company.
Lost Wages Form
When you take time off work, you must show that the hours you missed (therefore, the wages that you lost) were for the sole purpose of taking your child to the doctor.
You will need your employer to verify (in writing!) the date(s) you missed work, the hours you missed, and the amount of money you make per hour. At our firm, we created a "lost wage form" that takes only a few minutes to fill out and records information you need to try to prove your lost wages to the insurance company.
By law, the amount of time you missed from work must be "reasonable." To decide whether something is "reasonable," the insurance company does not consider your individual opinion and beliefs. "Reasonable" means you used a degree of care that an ordinary, competent person would use in the same or similar situation: You must act sensibly, do things without serious delay, and take proper, but not excessive, precautions. For example, if you say that you took your child to the doctor, the appointment would not likely take all day and result in a full day of lost wages.
Remember "reasonableness" in everything. This also applies to the type of treatment that you seek for your child's injuries. Again, in most cases, car accidents result in sprains and strains. Medical treatment should begin at the time of injury, and normally includes an immediate visit to the emergency room. The emergency room visit not only provides an initial assessment to treat injuries, but also protects the connection between your child's accident and the treatment for the accident. (In order to create evidence to show why your child should be compensated, you must show a continuous timeline of treatment and what it took for the injuries to resolve.)
Medical Care for a Child Vs. an Adult
After the initial emergency room visit, you may miss time from work to take your child to ongoing medical appointments. The type of treatment underlying these appointments must also be reasonable.
After being seen in the emergency room, it is best for your child to follow up with his or her pediatrician. Then follow the advice of your pediatrician in terms of the type of follow up care the child needs. Keep in mind that children's injuries typically resolve very quickly in comparison to adults. Observe your child: if he or she seems to be back to normal, this is not strange. Children are resilient and heal fairly fast. If you continue treating after your child is well, an insurance company will likely question the "reasonableness" of these actions.
Keep good records of the time that you are out of work and make sure your employer can corroborate the time you missed from work and that the time relates-back to the date(s) the child had doctors' appointments. This way, you have a better argument to recover your lost wages from the insurance company.
If your employer refuses to sign something that corroborates your personal statement, and there is nothing to show loss of income during the time period you took off, it will be difficult to prove lost wages. If you can get a medical excuse from the doctor's office showing that you were at your child's appointment then provide that paperwork, along with information from the employer. The more evidence you have, the better.
- Proper documentation is most important to recover lost wages.
- Documentation from your employer should include verification of the date(s) that you missed work, the hours that you missed, and the amount of money that you make per hour.
- Documentation from the doctor must show that you attended the appointment with your child, such as a medical excuse, or "absence" note.
- Remember "reasonableness" in everything.
Focus on Your Child - We'll Take Care of the Rest
In the aftermath of a car accident, having an attorney provides peace of mind to know a strong legal team is fighting for your child's rights while you focus on your child's recovery. You shouldn't have to worry about whether or not you'll be paid for the time you have to take off to take your child to the doctor - that's what we do.
We understand you need every penny during times like these and that's why we will fight for everything you may deserve.
The information in this article is meant to provide a general snapshot on how to claim your lost wages. Contact us right now to see if we can help protect you and your family.