Can You Collect Unemployment for an Injury?
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Can You Collect Unemployment for an Injury?

A California accident victim that suffers injuries as a result of another person’s negligence can recover damages from that person, including compensation for salary and wages that the victim did not receive when those injuries prevented him or her from working. An accident victim who is still willing and able to work but whose employment is terminated after an accident might also be able to collect unemployment insurance.  

The Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at Ellis Injury Law help injured Southern California residents to navigate the complex interactions between unemployment benefits and personal injury damages for lost wages and future earnings. Many injured individuals resign themselves to losing benefits that they deserve due to these complexities. One phone call to our offices can be a catalyst to recover the largest available portion of your lost earnings after you are injured. 

What are the requirements for collecting unemployment benefits? 

You can file a claim for California unemployment benefits if you become: 

  • totally or partially unemployed 
  • you were not at fault for losing your job 
  • you are still willing and physically able to work 
  • you are available and ready to work at any time 

You must also renew your unemployment benefits claim weekly by certifying that you are still physically able and available to work and that you will accept a call to work at any time.   

Who determines if your injuries prevent you from working? 

California’s Employment Development Department generally assesses an employee’s ability to work based on the specific facts and circumstances of a claim for unemployment benefits. If a person’s injuries, for example, prevent him or her from working during certain hours or from commuting to and from a place of employment, the Department can deny a benefits claim.  In that case, the injured employee will need to pursue a damages claim against the negligent party that caused his or her injuries to recover lost wages and salary. 

Can an injured accident victim recover both unemployment benefits and damages for lost wages? 

California law generally precludes an injured accident victim from recovering both unemployment benefits and damages for lost wages. This should not prevent an injured employee from seeking unemployment benefits if he or she is still able to work. If approved, unemployment benefits may be paid while the injured employee’s claim for personal injury damages is pending. Damages in a personal injury lawsuit will not be paid for several months or even years after the accident that caused the employee’s injury. The employee’s personal injury lawyer will coordinate the disbursement of the total damages award in view of any offsetting payments for lost wages that the injured employee received before the lawsuit was resolved. 

Can you collect unemployment if your injuries are related to an illness? 

California’s Employment Development Department and the State’s unemployment compensation benefits have been largely upended by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Many employees whose jobs were terminated due to the pandemic are eligible to receive extended federal and state benefits, but the volume of unemployment claims that have been filed in the first half of 2020. Many claimants are not receiving responses or benefits for several weeks after first filing their claims. Given the pandemic’s impact on unemployment benefits, a person whose employment ends due to illness should consult with a personal injury lawyer to file an unemployment benefits claim and to recover any other damages related to injuries and illness. 

Call Ellis Injury Law for Assistance on Collecting Unemployment if You Lost Your Job Due to an Injury 

The Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at Ellis Injury Law are here to help injured accident victims recover the wages they have lost when their injuries keep them from working. We have the knowledge and experience to seek recovery of lost wages from all available sources. If unemployment benefits are not available, for example, you might have an opportunity to file a claim for disability benefits. Please see our website or call us to speak with one of our attorneys about how you can recoup your lost employment income.