The paid time off you use after your wreck (whether sick days, paid vacation, or personal days) is considered income that you’ve lost. Even if you were paid by your employer for the days that you couldn’t work due to the at-fault driver’s negligence, you’re still entitled to compensation for those days because you’ve been forced by that driver to use the days for your recovery rather than for vacation or time with your family. You may also claim compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Truck Crash Injuries Requiring Time Off Work
If you were the driver or occupant of a passenger car involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, you are likely to suffer one or more of the following severe injuries:
- Broken bones
- Lacerations and scarring
- Knee/leg injuries
- Dislocated joints
- Spinal cord damage (SCI)
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Severed limbs
If the truck involved was a tanker carrying flammable or toxic materials, you might sustain burns, other skin damage, or respiratory problems, as well. After suffering any of the injuries listed above, you’re apt to require days off work for your hospital stay, surgeries, recovery at home, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, and meetings with an insurance adjuster or your attorney.
Recovering PTO and Other Damages
The process of claiming compensation for income lost (including PTO) due to your truck crash injuries includes three basic steps:
Every driver on the road owes a duty of care to every other motorist. If you can prove that the at-fault trucker in your crash breached that duty by breaking traffic laws, operating recklessly, driving under the influence, or being negligent in any other way, you can establish the defendant’s liability for your damages, including lost income and PTO time.
Providing Medical Evidence
You must be able to show medical evidence from your healthcare provider(s) that the injuries you suffered in the crash made it impossible for you to work for a specific period of time. You can do this by seeing a physician immediately after your wreck, keeping all receipts and other documentation of your medical treatments, and getting a doctor’s excuse stating that you cannot work for that period of time.
If your doctor releases you at any time after the wreck for a light-duty job that pays less than your normal salary, it’s important to show up at work and make every attempt to do that job. Any difference between your light-duty wages and your normal wages is compensable and should be part of your claim.
Documenting Lost Income
The value of your paid time off depends on your normal wages or salary. Dividing your weekly or monthly income by the number of work days in a week or month, respectively, will give you the value of each day you take off work. Your lawyer can obtain documentation of your lost income with a lost wage statement from your employer. If you’re self-employed, you can provide your most recent income tax return to prove your average daily, weekly, or monthly income. Payments made to any temporary workers you have to hire to perform your normal duties are compensable and must also be documented. It’s best to have signatures on all such documentation notarized.
How Our Myrtle Beach Truck Crash Attorney Can Help
An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you recover lost PTO in several ways:
- Investigating your crash thoroughly to prove the trucker’s liability
- Hiring a truck accident reconstructionist if necessary
- Obtaining valuable data from the truck’s “black box” recorder
- Interviewing witnesses and viewing footage from nearby security cameras
- Determining the value of any PTO you’ve used and incorporating that value as part of your claim
- Identifying multiple defendants (trucker, trucking company, mechanics, manufacturers, and/or loading dock personnel) in your truck accident
- Determining each defendant’s percentage of fault
- Filing multiple insurance claims if necessary
- Negotiating with all defendants for fair settlements
- Filing lawsuits and fighting for you in court if necessary
Have You Been Injured in a Charleston, South Carolina, Truck Accident?
If you've been hurt in a truck accident, you should speak with an experienced South Carolina truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach, Florence or North Charleston office locations.