An accident that causes a person to be injured can have a rippling effect on a person’s life. It does not only affect the person who is hurt—it also affects the people closest to them. Unfortunately, accidents often happen at inconvenient and burdensome times for an individual and their loved ones. If the accident caused a person to suffer serious injuries, it is not unusual for an injured person to lean on their partner, family and friends for help with many aspects of their life during the difficult time. Depending on the extent of the injuries, an injured loved one might need the help of a caregiver while they are in recovery. If the injured person is not able to afford a paid caregiver, a family member may have no other choice but to take some time off from work to care for their injured loved one. This can in turn cause the family member, spouse or partner to suffer lost wages or employment benefits themselves.
Apart from a spouse, family members do not have a claim against the insurance carrier or responsible party for the losses they incurred as a result of taking time off work to care for their loved one. Nor do they have a right to reimbursement for monetary losses from their loved one’s personal injury settlement. Luckily, in the state of California, there is a saving grace for this scenario that might be available to eligible family members—Paid Family Leave.
Paid Family Leave is available to individuals who take time off from work to care for a seriously injured loved one. An individual must fall into one of the following categories to be eligible for Paid Family Leave: child, spouse, parent, registered domestic partner, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild and sibling.
The Paid Family Leave program is administered by the state government, specifically California’s Employment Development Department. It is a component of State Disability Insurance. Thus, if you pay the minimum taxes required to qualify for State Disability Income benefits, you will also qualify for Paid Family Leave.
To be eligible, your injured loved on must suffer a serious injury or illness. As San Francisco personal injury attorneys, we see these all too often. A serious illness is defined as: a serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, residential health care facility, or continuing supervision by a health care provider. Your treating physician will have to submit a medical certificate to the State that demonstrates that the injury falls into this definition of “serious.” The physician will also need to include the diagnose code, the date the disability began, and state that the injury warrants the family member to take off time from work in order to provide care to their injured loved one. Furthermore, the physician must state how long that he or she estimates that the care provided is necessary.
The maximum Paid Family Leave benefit amount a person may get is six times the weekly benefit amount (determined by their income). You can receive Paid Family Leave income for up to six weeks in a given year.
Paid Family Leave is a great option for family members indirectly affected by a personal injury accident. For those who need to take time off from work to care for an injured loved one, this program can help carry them through this time so that they can afford to take off time from work in order to give the person the care that they need. If you think you might be eligible for this program, be sure to ask your personal injury attorney if you are eligible. You can also visit www.edd.ca.gov/disability or by call (877) 238-4373 and request a claim form.
If your loved one has been in a serious pedestrian, bicycle, motorcycle or car accident, feel free to contact us for a free case evaluation.
 Under Federal law, there are currently no paid family leave benefits available. However, employers are required to grant eligible employees unpaid family leave according to the Family Medical Leave Act if an employee requests to take time off of work to care for an injured loved one.