Can I Take Medical Leave After My Car Accident?

The Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides you with certain rights with respect to taking leave from work to recuperate from a serious health condition or to assist a family member recuperate from their own health condition (and to ensure that your job waiting for you when you come back). Pennsylvania employers, in particular, must comply with the federal law if they have at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks in the current or previous year.

medical leave after a car accident

What is covered as a Serious Health Condition?

Under FMLA, a serious health condition is defined as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:

  • Inpatient care;
  • Incapacity for more than three full days with continuing treatment by a healthcare provider;
  • Incapacity due to pregnancy or prenatal care;
  • Incapacity due to, or treatment for, a chronic serious health condition;
  • Permanent or long-term incapacity for a condition for which treatment may not be effective, such as terminal illness; or
  • Absence for multiple treatments for either restorative surgery following an injury or accident, or a condition that would require an absence of more than three days (if not treated).

What is not covered?

Some examples of conditions that do not warrant covered leave include:

  • The common cold
  • Flu
  • Ear aches
  • Upset stomach
  • Minor ulcers
  • Headaches
  • Routine dental needs, etc.

In other words, the law is intended to cover conditions that affect an employee’s health such that they must be absent from work on a recurring basis in order for properly recover. In interpreting a period of incapacity, whereby there is an inability to work, the law refers to a period of three or more consecutive calendar days, and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity related to the same condition that also involves treatment two or more times by a healthcare provider (or related, such as a nurse) or treatment by a healthcare provider on at least one occasion which results in a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervision of that health care provider.

How Much Leave Can I Take?

In Pennsylvania, employees may take up to twelve weeks a year for a serious health condition, whereby they cannot perform the essential functions of the job, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition, and this leave renews each year. This leave is typically unpaid, although employers may have employees use paid leave for this purpose.

An Experienced Attorney to Protect Your Legal Rights

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and fear that taking leave in order to recover could cost you your job, it is crucial that you consult an experienced attorney that practices in both employment issues and personal injury law.

The attorneys at Solnick & Associates, LLC have years of experience with employment discrimination, personal injury, and workers’ compensation issues, and can help you ensure that your rights are protected. Contact us for a free consultation.