Many people who are hurt at work or who suffer from an occupational illness do not file a workers' compensation claim to get the benefits that they deserve because they are afraid that filing a claim will cause them to be fired from their place of employment.
However, you should not use your sick days, personal days, or any short-term disability time that you might have because there are laws that prohibit your employer from retaliating against you because of your claim.
Nowadays many doctors screen patients to see if their pain is work-related and they will either bill your employer's workers' comp insurer or refuse to provide care if they don't take workers' comp insurance claims. That leaves you with no choice but to file a claim for workers' compensation.
Can Your Employer Fire You?
Of course, you can be fired from any job and your state laws depend on whether or not your employer must have reason to do so. However, your employer cannot fire you for simply filing a workers' comp claim. That would be considered retaliation, which is against the law.
You can, however, be fired while you have an open workers' compensation claim. Your employer will be required to show that there were legitimate reasons to fire you or for laying you off and that they did not have anything to do with your workers' compensation claim.
Most employees have employment "at will" which means that they can be terminated at any time and for any reason or no reason at all. Employers will not come forward and say you were terminated for filing a workers' compensation claim.
If you can prove you were fired for filing a claim, you can file a lawsuit against your employer for their wrongful retaliation.
How Can You Prove Wrongful Retaliation?
You will need to gather evidence to prove that you were fired because of your claim. This might include statements from your coworkers who knew you performed your work duties properly and that there were no problems with your performance before you filed the claim for workers' comp benefits.
Basically, your allegation could not come to fruition without the help of a workers' compensation lawyer. Proving you were fired because of your claim can be challenging and in some cases, impossible.
Consult with A Workers' Compensation Attorney
If you have been hurt at work or if you are suffering from a work-related disease, you should consult with a workers' compensation attorney. Your attorney will ensure you are treated fairly and that your rights are protected.
With the help of a lawyer, you are much more likely to have success getting access to the benefits that you are entitled to receive. Because of the complexity of such claims and how the insurance works, you should not try to go it alone without the help of a workplace injury lawyer who is familiar with helping people who have suffered work illnesses or injuries. Schedule a free case evaluation today.