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What if I Lose My Job Because of My Injuries?

Posted by Scott A. Staples | Apr 03, 2019 | 0 Comments

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When a client is hurt badly enough that their medical providers say they cannot work, one of the major stressors in their lives can be whether they are going to have a job to go back to if and when they recover. It's a huge burden and worry for a client and their loved ones. And in many truly unfortunate cases, employers are simply unable or unwilling to hold open an injured person's job indefinitely, and they do move on.     

One of the first things I'd do with any client who may be facing this situation is walk them through what other sources of replacement income they might have. I don't have room here to go into detail on the ins and outs of each of these potential sources, but suffice to say, they should be looked at. Personal Injury Protection benefits under an auto policy (if the injury resulted from a car accident), worker's compensation (if the injury occurred in the course of work), and the client's own short and long term disability policies, if they exist, will need to be looked over carefully to see what type of benefits they may provide. 

One thing that's true about any of these potential replacement income sources is that the insurers providing them will all be looking to be repaid the benefits they've paid out if the injured client makes a recovery from a third party who caused the injury.  Whether those insurers can indeed recover out of the proceeds of a personal injury claim is its own series of posts, but the short answer is the in some circumstances they can.

This naturally leads to the question of whether someone pursuing a personal injury case can recover compensation in the case for the loss of their job. Generally speaking, yes- if a job is lost as a consequence of the negligence of another, the claim brought by the injured person can include the financial losses associated with loss of a job.

Proving the extent of the loss is often the difficult part. There may be evidence and arguments available to lawyers defending the claim suggesting that the injured person lost their job for reasons unrelated to the injury. Former employers, sometimes in fear of being sued for some variety of wrongful termination, are often reluctant to cooperate and testify as to the true reasons for the loss of the job. Injured people are often subject to accusations form the defense side that they failed to do everything in their power, upon the loss of their job at injury, to find another job, any job they are physically capable of, to fill the gap.

These are tricky issues to sort out, and add tremendous stress to an already bad situation. Our attorneys regularly consult with potential clients on these issues, and help our own clients navigate these waters in their own cases. Feel free to give us a call if your job is being threatened, or if you've already lost it, because of an auto accident, fall, worksite injury, or other unfortunate occurrence.

About the Author

Scott A. Staples

Scott Staples came on board in 2006 as a clerk during law school, and joined the firm as an associate attorney in 2007. He was made a shareholder in the firm in 2010. Scott graduated, cum laude, from Washington State University Vancouver with a BA in English, and obtained his Juris Doctorate from Willamette University College of Law, with cum laude honors there as well. He has successfully represented clients in a variety of different types of injury cases, including auto collisions, premises liability, animal attacks, watercraft accidents, and construction site injuries. He has appeared, and won, before the Washington State Supreme Court (Weismann v. Safeco, 2012). Scott has volunteered time for the past several years at the Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Housing Justice Project. He has previously served on the new member and membership committees for the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ), and has acted as chair and co-chair of the WSAJ Clark County Roundtable. He is a member of the Washington and Oregon State Bar Associations, WSAJ and OTLA (state trial lawyer organizations), and is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Washington and Oregon. Scott was born and raised in Vancouver, attending Vancouver public schools and graduating from Hudson's Bay High School. He enjoys playing recreational basketball and softball, skiing, and spending time with his wife and three children.

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