Research from the Bureau of Justice Statistics has found that 60% of court trials related to personal injury claims. The extent of personal injury and the impact that it has on individuals should not be ignored. 52% of claims were found to be resulting from motor vehicle accidents, 15% from medical malpractice, 5% due to product liability, and the remaining 28% from ‘other’ causes.

If you needed a reason to understand personal injury claims, the statistics would speak for themselves. Personal injury not only affects the individual and their families but can significantly impact businesses too.

Family and Medical Leave Act 

Typically, an employer can fire an employee for missing too much work; however, absences from work due to a personal injury are protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Family and Medical Leave Act applies to businesses with fifty or more employees and allows the injured party to take up to 12 weeks off in a year for medical injuries and the right to be reinstated once the leave is over. If you fail to comply with the law, you risk being sued for wrongful termination. If you are unsure about whether you fall under the constraints of the FMLA, seek legal advice.

Supporting your employee

The most valuable asset any business has is its workforce, and how your business copes with the unexpected curve balls life throws at them is important and an indicator of your business’s workplace culture. 

While there is no federal law that mandates sick pay for employees, it is best practice to support your employee through their personal injury recovery. This can be as simple as steering them towards a reputable attorney to fight their claim such as who can help if they have had a car accident, or adjusting their work schedule to more manageable hours and tasks. Your policies and procedures should clearly define your stance on how your business will endeavor to support employees.

Inability of the injured party to attend work

When your business relies on the talents and skills of people, a personal injury can keep employees away from the workplace for extended periods of time. This can have a detrimental effect on your business’s operations, especially when the person involved is a key player. There is insurance that you can take out to protect your business in this scenario. The insurance will pay to cover the paycheck of the replacement while your employee recuperates.

Timescale of litigation

A claim for personal injury can take a long time to settle or reach the courts. On average, motor vehicle accidents take 20 months to get to court, premises liability 24 months and medical malpractice up to 31 months. The timescale of litigation means that your employee will be in a state of stress for the duration, or even unable to return to work. You need to be aware that recovery can go beyond physical repair, and plan sharing the workload accordingly.

Nobody plans for accidents, but for the impact on your business if an employee has one can be disruptive to business. You need to work within the law and support your employee and business through this tough time. 

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