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Can you file PTO or sick leave while recovering from injury in a car accident?

Milpitas, CA |

I was out for almost 2 weeks now due to car accident and was advised to rest while being treated to moment I went to doctor. Now, I plan to file PTO(Paid Time Off) or sick leave to collect paycheck until I recover and start working which should be soon. How will filing PTO/sick leave affect my claim for injury like wage loss compensation? Will I still be entitled for this wage loss compensation claim even I used my PTO/sick leave while I'm away from work? Please help and advise!

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Attorney answers 8


Your argument is that you are using sick time for an accident that was someone else's fault. You will not have that paid sick time to use for other illnesses because you used it for this accident. Hire a lawyer to help you with this so you make sure you are compensated for all the losses you sustained.


Generally, if you are injured through the fault of another, you are entitled to make a claim for full compensation for all of your injuries. If you are required to miss work, or use vacation time, or use PTO or sick leave, you are entitled to claim damages for loss of work. Whether you received PTO or vacation or sick leave is not directly relevant. You are supposed to be compensated for missing work and the missed compensation. In all cases, you should consult an attorney to get the full value of your claim from the opposing insurance company.

Brad C. Brereton

In all cases it is advisable to consult an experienced attorney. Nothing stated herein is intended as legal advice for your specific situation, and you should use the information provided solely for the purpose of choosing an experienced attorney for the problems presented.


You are entitled to recover your loss wages. If you use your vacation time, sick days or other paid leave, your are entitled to be made whole. You would not have used that time but for the accident. Best of luck. Please visit my Guides below:

This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. Abogado de Lesiones de Accidentes de Autos, provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Oakland Abogado Accidentes Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Accidentes de carros, Abogado de accidentes de Peatones, practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.




If you can prove the time off was reqd due to the injuries, the number of hours and your hourly benefits, you can claim the amount even if you used other benefits so you werent out of pocket. The Calif Supreme Court has yet to throw out the collateral source rule in this situation.


Kopelson explained it well.

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If the employer provides PTO time, they must allow you to use it for sick leave if this has been their policy with other employees. Obviously, you could have used this PTO time for other reasons but for the accident and, therefore, you should seek this as part of your loss of earnings damages in your personal injury suit. If you have not done so already, you should retain a personal injury attorney to seek this along with the cost of medical treatment, pain and suffering damages and anything else to which you may be entitled.

Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery. Any testimonials or endorsements should not be construed as a guarantee, warranty or prediction of the outcome of your case.


Your inquiry goes to the legal status of collateral source payments and how they may affect your ultimate recovery against a liable defendant. Collateral sources are being treated differently depending on what state the accident occurs in. Common law would not permit the defendant to benefit from your foresight in obtaining sick leave benefits etc. The common law has been modified in some jurisdictions where the insurance industry has lobbied for the defendant (actually the insurance company) to get the benefit of your foresight. You will need to consult with a personal injury attorney in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred to determine the current status of collateral source payments in your jurisdiction.

You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on dealing with many of the issues you are now facing. The Guides can be accessed through my profile page on

Legal Disclaimer:

If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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