Were you fired after filing for workers’ compensation? You may have the right to sue your former employer—with the help of a workers’ compensation attorney, if you so choose—if they fired you because:
- You were injured
- You disagreed with the amount or type of compensation they offered and expressed an intention to appeal their decision
- You have filed a workers’ compensation claim on more than one occasion
- They falsely claim you acted irresponsibly and caused your own injury
Filing for Workers’ Compensation
Each state has its own laws governing which employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and under what circumstances they can seek those benefits. As an example, according to S.C. Ann § 42-1-360, South Carolina requires businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they:
- Employ at least four people
- Are in almost any industry besides agriculture, railroads, or real estate
- Do not have the means to insure themselves
Requirements differ from state to state. Be sure to look up the relevant laws in your area or ask your lawyer to explain the law to you.
Workers’ compensation benefits are paid to any worker who is injured in the course of doing their job, unless the worker was behaving irresponsibly (e.g., they were drunk). This includes compensation for:
- Up to two-thirds of your regular wages
- Medical expenses
- Vocational rehabilitation training, if you are unable to return to your previous job
- Permanent disability
- Temporary disability
The exact amount you can receive in workers’ comp may vary by state. (For example, different states assign different values to disability payments.) However, the categories for which you can seek compensation are generally consistent across state lines.
Workers’ compensation claims can be costly for employers. While most accept this cost as part of doing business, others may try to reduce expenses by denying claims on spurious grounds or firing employees who seek those benefits. If you suspect that your employer is giving you trouble to avoid paying workers’ comp benefits, you have options.
For a legal consultation with a lawyer serving North Carolina and South Carolina, call 828.286.3866
What to Do After Being Fired for Filing Workers’ Compensation
First, it is important to recognize that not every firing is illegal. A business has the right to terminate employees who:
- Repeatedly fail to show up for work or to do their jobs properly
- Threaten or endanger other employees or their employers
- They can no longer afford or whose services they no longer require
If your employer had just cause to fire you, even if the firing occurred close to the time when you filed for workers’ comp, there may be nothing you can do. However, if you have reason to suspect that your firing was a direct result of your workers’ comp claim, this is an illegal act and you can:
- Talk to a lawyer about your options
- Sue on the basis of wrongful termination and ask for your old job back
- Sue for workers’ compensation benefits, lost wages, loss of reputation, and other damages
An attorney can listen to your case and let you know if they think you have good reason to file a lawsuit. They can also tell you more about:
- Your rights: A lawyer familiar with workers’ compensation law can explain in greater depth what you are entitled to and how you can fight for it.
- The statute of limitations: You will probably have a limited time to take legal action against your employer. It is important to start as quickly as possible to protect your rights.
- How to handle your case: Sometimes, you can bring a wrongful termination case to a satisfactory conclusion at the negotiating table. Others must go to trial. Your lawyer can discuss and guide you through all necessary steps.
Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me 828.286.3866
Fighting for Fair Workers’ Compensation
Even if your employer does not fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, they will not necessarily make it easy for you to receive the benefits you deserve. To safeguard your interests, you might have to:
- Collect evidence to prove that your injury was the result of an on-the-job accident
- Negotiate with your employer or their insurer to get a fair deal
- Go through several levels of appeal if your claim is denied
- Communicate with other parties only through your lawyer to prevent anyone from trying to manipulate your words or push you into an unfair settlement
It may be impossible to predict ahead of time if your employer will cooperate with your workers’ compensation claim or take unscrupulous action to prevent you from receiving benefits. The sooner you consult a law firm, the sooner they can get to work protecting you.
Workers’ Compensation Is Your Right
Injured workers in both North Carolina and South Carolina have a right to receive workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury. If you were fired after filing for these benefits, Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC can represent you as you seek justice and fair compensation. Call today for a free case evaluation.