Yes, you can still get workers’ compensation if you get fired
After getting injured at work, you may be unsure of what your next course of action should be. Concerns about your physical well-being, financial status, and capabilities can easily cloud your mind.
If your employer fires you in the process, your future might look even bleaker. Worker’s compensation appears less certain when you no longer work at the place where you got hurt. Despite the troubles you are enduring, you can ease the burden by knowing your rights and standing up for yourself.
At-Will Employment in Georgia
Georgia law has an at-will employment clause. This means that your employer can fire you at any time, for any reason, as long as the cause is not illegal. Your worker’s compensation claim would be an illegal cause for termination, but your employer can try to get around this issue by finding another reason to fire you. If you run into employment problems after getting hurt, it is important to know where you stand as a former team member.
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.
As long as your employer has at least three personnel, you are eligible for worker’s compensation if you get hurt on the job. This insurance should cover your income benefits and medical fees in weekly installments, and it can carry on until 400 weeks pass. Once you have a worker’s compensation claim, your employer cannot get out of his or her duties by firing you. Termination can prolong your benefits if you have trouble finding a new job.
Your injury and employment status do not have to wreck your life. When you put your body on the line for your work, you should get something in return. It is up to you to make sure this happens.
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.
Georgia workers’ compensation should protect workers
Blue collar workers, especially those who work in construction, manufacturing or meat processing, are often at higher risk for injuries at work. When you suffer a work injury, you should immediately report it to management, if you are able to do so. After advising your employer, you should seek medical attention for your injuries right away. You typically have 30 days from the date of the incident to seek workers’ compensation. Within those 30 days, you must file a claim with the state. Failing to do so, unless there is a medical reason preventing you from filing, could result in a loss of benefits.
Typically, all medical expenses related to a work injury are covered by workers’ compensation. In some cases, however, if your employer tries to deny your claim, you may need to request a hearing with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. During this hearing, you can present documentation and testimony about your work injury, as will your employer. Chances are, your employer will have an attorney arguing for their side of the case. You want to work with an experienced Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer to get the benefits you’ve earned.
A Workers Comp Attorney can make all the difference
It can be difficult to comply with paperwork and procedural requirements when you’re trying to recover from a work injury. An attorney can help ensure that you are following all rules and laws, while also advocating for the best possible outcome to your case. Even if your employer fired you and you are no longer employed, you may receive workers’ compensation benefits if you were employed when you suffered your injuries. A workers’ compensation attorney helps determine what your options are if you were unfairly fired for filing a claim.