Being off work due to a work-related injury can be frustrating. Finding out your employer terminated you while you’re recovering from that injury can be devastating. This is why many people are hesitant to file a workers’ compensation claim. In basic terms, your employer can fire you simply because you have filed a workers’ compensation claim. If they do choose to terminate you, they need to have a valid reason aside from the fact that you have an open workers’ compensation claim. If you are fired, there are a few things you should know.
Retaliation by Termination
Retaliation by termination is illegal. Unless your employer has a valid reason outside of the fact that you have filed a workers’ compensation claim, it is a form of discrimination, and you do have the right to take legal action against them. If you believe that you were terminated unfairly, you will have to provide some degree of proof. Be prepared to testify to any conversations or provide any documentation that may support your claim of retaliation by termination.
Maximum Medical Improvement
When you file a workers’ compensation claim, your employer is required to maintain your employment until you have reached your maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement means that you have completed your recovery and are back to 100% or have reached the maximum level of improvement in your health that can be expected post-injury. Your maximum medical improvement is the best physical outcome you can hope for under the circumstances when your doctor releases you.
Ongoing or Permanent Work Restrictions
When your maximum medical improvement is less than 100% of your original health, you may face ongoing or permanent work restrictions. When this occurs, you may return to work, but you may not be able to perform the same job you had before you were injured. If this happens, your employer should offer you the option to be trained for a new position within the company. This will allow you to return to work in a position that will accommodate your limitations and restrictions. The training you receive will provide you with the skills you need to take on new responsibilities and be as productive as possible.
Inability to Return to Work
There are cases in which the injuries caused by a work-related accident will prevent you from returning to work at all. In this situation, there are two concerns when it comes to your care. You may be required to receive ongoing medical care for the rest of your life. The other situation is that you may have healed completely, but at such a reduced level of maximum medical improvement, you will never be able to work again. If your medical care is required on a maintenance level, you may choose to settle your claim and close your workers’ compensation case. If your employer decides to terminate your position because you can no longer return to work, it doesn’t mean they will be able to avoid settling your claim.
Documentation Is Everything
Just as with any type of legal proceeding, you will need to document every aspect of your workers’ compensation claim. Documentation is your physical proof that an action or event has taken place. Being able to provide adequate documentation is essential to winning your cases. It is important to start documenting everything immediately after an accident occurs. Documentation can be in written form, photographs, or video recordings. No matter how you choose to document your information, it is imperative that you do so.
When you have questions about retaliation by termination, you need to get answers quickly. At Pittman Insurance Group, LLC, we can get you the answers you need. Contact us today to learn more!