Does Being Fired Mean You Can’t Get Workers’ Comp Benefits?
While most people know that you can get workers’ comp benefits for work-related injuries while you are employed, what happens if you are terminated or fired? Can you still get benefits for a job-related illness or injury?
When You Can Get Benefits
Workers’ comp is designed to protect employees from injuries and illnesses that are closely related to their jobs. If you are injured or become sick due to your work, the benefits offered under the law don’t simply vanish if you are fired. If you were already receiving benefits, you can continue to do so. If you have not yet filed for workers’ comp before you are terminated, you can still do so (provided you file in shortly after your injury in the timeframe allowed by law and your condition is related to your former job).
However, there is one very important qualifier to this general rule: if you were fired for misconduct, and that conduct is part or all of the reason for your injury, any benefits you receive may be reduced.
Expect Delays And Skepticism
The instant that the words “termination” or “fired” become involved, insurance companies tend to forget that real people with real injuries are on the other end of a workers’ comp claim. Rather than seeing these claims as an injured people seeking the benefits they need (and are entitled to under workers’ comp law), they often view them as disgruntled employees lashing out at their former employers. This perception can lead to:
- Claims being viewed with an extra level of scrutiny
- Insurance companies delaying responses or becoming entirely non-responsive, even if you were already approved for benefits
- Unfair denials of benefits and attempts to terminate benefits
To give you the strongest chance of navigating these issues and avoiding delays, consider contacting a workers’ comp attorney who can help you stand up to the insurance company. Without this guidance, you face a tough, lengthy battle to get or keep the benefits you need.