Workers’ Compensation Benefits After Getting Fired
Workers’ Compensation laws are tricky for the average person to navigate. After sustaining a workplace injury, many employees question their job security. If an injured worker is out of work, an employer typically must fill the vacant position to keep things running smoothly. A more proficient employee could fill the role or job tasks could shift, leaving the injured worker to wonder what will be waiting for them upon their return, or question if their employer is looking for someone to replace them. Injured workers might think their employer can fire them for being reckless and getting injured on the job, or for not being able to report to work due to an injury.
Legally, employers are not allowed to fire injured workers or they will be subject to a lawsuit for retaliation. Typically, employers will put injured workers on light duty or shift their job responsibilities to a lesser role to accommodate the injury if possible. In certain instances, a worker may be placed on permanent leave from a job due to a long-sustained injury. In this case, it is acceptable for an employer to hire someone new to fill the position without legal repercussions.
Employers who fire injured workers while they are out of work on Workers’ Compensation are required by law to prove that the worker was fired for misconduct, and that it was not related to that worker’s injury. They must also prove that other employees could be fired for the same misconduct, and that their termination does not relate to restrictions placed on the injured worker. Displaced workers are still entitled to Workers’ Compensation for the duration of that injury, regardless of the reason they were fired. The only exception is if they were fired for misconduct, in which case, the worker will be denied benefits due to their actions. It is also possible for an extension of benefits after a worker’s employment is terminated if they can prove that their inability to find new work is a direct result of limitations the injury places upon them.
Occasionally a work-related injury may not materialize until after an employee is fired. In this instance, the employee may still be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits, even though they are no longer employed. It can be very challenging to obtain approval for benefits after termination, so it is vital that employees keep a good record of their injuries to support their case. They must prove they have an injury or disability, that the injury occurred on the job, and that it happened while working within the scope of their job responsibilities.
Employers have ample defense for claims filed after an employee’s termination. If a great length of time has passed between termination and a benefit claim, the employer can purport that the injury did not occur on their jobsite. They can also blame an injury on an employee’s purposeful negligence, or say that the injury occurred outside the scope of that worker’s role, thus limiting their liability in the matter. It is crucial to have knowledgeable legal representation to help navigate the complex laws regarding Workers’ Compensation.
Highland Park Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Harold J. Gerr Can Fight for Your Case
If you or someone you know has been fired due to a workplace injury, you may be entitled to benefits and compensation for pain and suffering. At the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr, we have been representing injured workers for more than 40 years. Call today to speak with one of our skilled Highland Park Workers’ Compensation lawyers at 732-537-8570 or submit an online query.