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Can I Be Fired if I File a Workers' Compensation Claim?

By Byron Smith on August 17, 2018

Workers' compensation formA workers' compensation claim is designed to cover lost wages, medical expenses, and other costs associated with the recovery from an on-the-job injury. Workers contact their supervisors and/or HR representative about the injury/injuries they have suffered and then proceed with filing a workers’ compensation claim.

The attorneys at our San Francisco, CA law firm have helped numerous people in the Bay Area with their employment law issues. Right now, we want to consider issues surrounding termination after filing for workers’ compensation benefits. As you’re about to read, receiving benefits for an on-the-job injury does not necessarily protect your employment.

How Your Employer Is Involved in Workers’ Compensation

Your employer will be involved with informing the insurance provider of your claim. Your employer will initially accept or deny your workers’ compensation claim before it gets filed with the insurer.

Termination After Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim through your employer, that is not a guarantee that your position in the company will be protected. It is possible for an employer to terminate an employee after the claim has been filed.

Is That a Case of Wrongful Termination?

It depends entirely on the reasons why your employer let you go.

In some cases, the termination of the employee after a workers’ compensation claim has been filed is not wrongful termination at all. In these cases, the termination would have to be related to job performance, complaints from co-workers about actions on the job, and so forth.

It would be wrongful termination if you lost your job because of your injury, your need to recovery from your injury, or changes to your ability to accomplish job duties stemming from your injury.

Examples of Wrongful Termination After Filing for Workers’ Compensation

Say that an on-the-job injury resulted in serious damage to your spinal cord, requiring you to use a wheelchair for the foreseeable future. Upon returning to work, you ask for reasonable accommodations to be made to address these changes. If you employer decides to terminate you because you are now in a wheelchair and they refuse to make these accommodations, that is a clear case of wrongful termination.

Unfortunately, these kinds of cases are not so cut and dry. There are plenty of times when the motives of employers may seem more vague, or concealed beneath other matters that are used as a pretext to let you go upon returning to work. This is one of the many difficulties regarding wrongful termination cases.

How an Attorney Can Help

An employment law attorney has experience dealing with these fine distinctions regarding wrongful termination. If you suspect you have been wrongfully let go, an attorney can hear your case and let you know if it is worth pursuing. This legal advice can prove invaluable.

During the litigation process, your lawyer will help you understand the laws involved and what is at stake. As you focus on resuming life with dignity, your attorney will represent you diligently. This peace of mind can prove essential during the legal battle ahead.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer

To learn more about you legal rights and options after a workplace injury, be sure to contact the experienced lawyers of Smith & Baltaxe, LLP. We are here to help you in your time of legal need.

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