How to rebuild your career after an accident

There are over 155,000 road casualties every year in the UK. And if you have ever been involved in one, then you know that this defining event can have various repercussions on your professional life.

The need to attend physical therapy sessions, see the doctor and organise vehicle repairs can mean you need to take a break from the workforce for a few weeks or even months.

If you have had to leave or take time off your job and you’re worried about the effect this hiatus can have on your future, the following considerations may be useful in helping you set up a successful strategy for your return.

Know your rights

Once your medical needs are met, the next step involves ensuring your financial and legal rights are covered. By filing a personal injury claim and obtaining lost wages from the other driver’s insurance company, you can recover the amounts that correspond to the salary you would have earned.

In very serious cases, you may decide to file a lawsuit against the other driver. For success in your lawsuit you will have to establish elements such as the existence of a duty of care and the fact that there was a breach of that duty of care.

All these considerations should be taken up with a legal professional, so you can rest assured you receive all you are entitled to.

Communicate your needs in your workplace

A study by J Diedericks of the University of South Africa showed that when employees have motor accidents, organisations and managers need to recognise the physical and psychological effects that injuries have.

They need to take steps to address any existing challenges, so that employees can be accommodated in the working environment after their short (or long) break for recovery.

Steps companies can take include making design changes to the offices, changing equipment for more ergonomic items, offering more flexible work schedules, and even offering remote working opportunities for workers who may not be able to drive or walk long distances.

Before meeting your managers, list down your challenges and propose solutions that can be adopted in the easiest, most cost-effective manner possible. 

Considering new paths

If your accident involves several months away from your job, you may take this time to consider a career move or additional training or education.

If, for instance, you have always wanted to pick up a new skill in an emerging area like artificial intelligence, social media, or cybersecurity, you might decide to complete an online course. This in turn can boost your CV and make you a good candidate for a job in a new company or in a field totally unrelated to what you have been doing in the past few years.

In this sense, an accident can trigger a period of renewal and growth; this is especially true if you feel motivated to fill your recovery time with mentally stimulating pursuits.

Motor and other accidents and injuries can certainly mark a watershed moment in your career. While you are in recovery, ensure your finances are in order, and seek professional help if your financial well-being depends on it.

If you will be returning to your office, let managers know of any special needs they can help you with. Finally, in the case of a long break, take the time to consider if you are on the right track professionally. You may decide that your passions lie in a whole new direction, and you may be inspired to make a crucial change.

Photo by Tobias Tullius