Seattle Seahawks fans are fretting over the fate of their team’s record this season as star QB Russell Wilson has been out of commission for longer than expected with a middle finger injury. He's currently not expected to return to play until November 14, when the team plays Green Bay—and while Geno Smith is doing his best to hold the fort, there's no doubt the team's recent losses have hurt in the meantime. This is a first for Wilson, as well—his first extended period on the disabled list.
Watching the Seahawks struggle along this season brings to my mind the question of how families cope when their main “breadwinner” is sidelined due to an injury accident. While no one is really worried about how the Wilson family is surviving, an injury accident can definitely cause a short-term strain on the average household—even if they will ultimately recover damages from a personal injury case. What can you do to survive when medical bills are piling up and you can't generate income during the recovery time? Let's discuss a few options.
If your loved one was injured at work, there is a good chance they will have access to worker's compensation benefits, which cover both the medical costs and partial wages during their time off work. Worker's comp is not meant to provide full-time wage replacement, but it can help pay for necessities like rent, utilities, and food. Reach out to your employer or your local L&I department office to inquire about worker's comp, or talk to an attorney if you're having trouble getting a claim approved.
Employer Paid Sick Leave
Many businesses offer paid sick leave among their employee benefits, and this can also help fill at least some of the gap if your loved one can't work for a while. Not everyone is aware they have these benefits, nor do they always kick in automatically—so be sure to check with the employer to see if paid sick leave is offered.
Another option to cover your family is with PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance. PIP is generally offered as an addition to your car insurance, and it covers medical expenses and lost wages due to a car accident. It can also help with supplementary household needs, such as house cleaning and childcare if needed. This can be especially beneficial if you or your loved one need extended time off work. If you do not yet have PIP coverage, the best time to get it is before an accident happens. Contact your auto insurance company for a quote.
Another possible resource for covering lost income after an accident is disability insurance—a policy designed to supplement your family's income if the main breadwinner cannot work due to illness or injury. While disability insurance doesn't usually cover the full amount of lost income (typically, it's 60-80 percent), it can still help keep your bills paid while you're waiting on a settlement.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Sometimes an injury accident can have long-term or permanent effects where the victim can't care for themselves as they once did. Long-term care insurance can fill this gap by paying for personal care and other services that aren't typically covered by health insurance. This coverage doesn't replace your income, but it can significantly reduce the expenses when ongoing care is needed.
Deferred Medical Payments
If your family's breadwinner has suffered a major injury and the medical expenses are piling up quickly, you may be eligible to defer your medical payments. This is when the doctor, hospital, or healthcare provider allows the patient to delay paying medical bills not currently covered by insurance or pay those bills in installments. If you're struggling under the weight of medical costs with limited income, your personal injury attorney may be able to get you some relief by negotiating deferred payments until your settlement is finalized.
There's no doubt that a family can struggle in the short-term when their main income provider is injured and can't work—but there are always options, especially with a strong support system around you. If someone's negligence caused the accident, you may be eligible to recover all the expenses and lost income you're currently suffering. Call the Law Offices of Paul L. Schneiderman today at (206) 464-1952 to discuss your options