Getting hurt on the job is a bad situation for almost everyone. You suddenly have to worry about how long it will take you to return to your job. You also have to worry about the medical bills that you incur while treating your injury. That’s a lot of expense right at a time when you probably don’t have much income.
Thankfully, in most cases, you can qualify for Georgia workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury. Those benefits can pay you a portion of your lost wages if you are temporarily disabled. They can also cover the cost of medical treatment and rehabilitative care.
Eventually, the worker will be able to return to the job and benefits will end. In some cases, they don’t have a job to go back to. Sometimes, employers choose to fire employees after they seek benefits. It’s important to understand that even if you lose your job, you still have a right to your claim and the benefits you need to recover from your injury.
Employment status at the time of the accident is what matters
Your ability to receive workers compensation is not contingent on remaining employed at the same company. If that were the case, every employer in the country would find a reason to discharge workers after they got hurt.
Your employer should work with you as you file the claim and accommodate your injuries when you attempt to return to work. Unfortunately, not all employers comply with the law. Some may still find a reason to discharge you after you seek your workers’ compensation benefits for an injury. It’s important to understand that even if you get fired, you can still receive benefits.
The law in Georgia focuses on your employment status at the time of your injury. Even if it is your first day on the job, any injury you suffer should be covered under workers’ compensation. This remains true if your employer terminates your position with the company after your injury.
Don’t let fear of retaliation keep you from your benefits
Some workers are so worried about losing their job or facing other forms of employer retaliation that they don’t seek the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. This can leave them struggling to keep up at work and cover medical expenses due to co-pays and deductibles on their medical coverage.
Don’t fall into this trap. If your employer would discharge you for seeking benefits now, they could very well discharge you for no reason in the future. Filing your claim protects your right to benefits and can help ensure that you can make ends meet while you recover from your injury.