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Can You Collect Workers Compensation After Being Fired From the Job

Yes, it’s possible to collect workers’ compensation after being fired from the job where you suffered an injury. But California’s workers’ compensation processes can make filing for and recovering these benefits more complicated. Employers are protected by the post-termination defense that prevents retaliation by terminated employees.However, there are many ways you and your workers’ compensation lawyer can prove that your injury occurred on the job and that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits from your previous employer, regardless of how you left the organization.You may be trying to collect workers’ compensation that you filed for before you were let go, or perhaps you need to file a claim after discovering an on-the-job injury after you were terminated. In either situation, you can still recover workers’ compensation benefits to make up for lost income, pay accident-related medical expenses, access vocational training resources, and more.

What Is the Post-Termination Defense in Workers’ Compensation Claims?

While the workers’ compensation system was built to make it easier and faster for injured workers to get the benefits they need, there are also protections for employers to ensure they only have to handle valid workers’ compensation claims.The post-termination defense allows employers to allege that a former employee’s workers’ compensation claim is not valid. Some common post-termination defenses used by employers include:

  • The employee was not injured on the job
  • The employee failed to report an incident or actual injury while they were still employed

The post-termination defense puts the burden of proof on you, the former employee, to prove that your qualifying workers’ compensation injury either took place at work or was directly caused by work activity.

What If I Discover My Injury After Being Fired or Laid Off?

You should still file for workers’ compensation from your previous employer if you discover a work-related injury after your termination or layoff. You can get your injury assessed by a doctor and determine whether it’s from a specific on-the-job incident or overwork while at your previous job.The burden of proof is even larger for you in this situation. It’s easier for an employer to undermine your claim because time has passed since you worked for them, and they could say that your injury occurred outside your previous workplace injuries .In addition, it may be harder to successfully file a workers’ compensation claim if you were fired for engaging in activity that goes against the employee handbook or industry regulations. This is especially true if you were injured at the same time. Some examples include horseplay, working while intoxicated, or neglecting proper protocols. If you were also fired for one of these reasons, that could make it even harder to file a workers’ compensation claim.

How Injured Workers Can Disprove the Post-Termination Defense in a Workers’ Compensation Claim

There are steps you can take to strengthen your post-termination workers’ compensation claim, including:

Notifying Your Employer of a Work-Related Injury or Incident

Most employers require you to report a possible injurious incident or actual injury within a few days or weeks of it happening. You should report an injury or incident to your manager, supervisor, human resources department, or employer as soon as possible. If you discover an injury after being terminated, you should still reach out and let them know. It’s best to file a written report rather than a verbal report in this situation.Always give a written report if you can. Having a report in writing makes it harder for an employer to wrongfully deny they knew about your injury. If it’s not possible to submit a written report, verbally report it to your employer and write down whom you spoke to, when, and what was said (even if you aren’t filing a workers’ compensation claim right away).

Proving Your Injury Is Directly Related to Your Work

You should get a copy of the written report and any workers’ compensation paperwork you submitted with your former employer to prove they were aware of your injury before termination. An incident report can also be critical in validating your claim.Medical records and witness statements from coworkers can be solid evidence for filing claims for an injury that occurred after being fired but before your final day on the job. You can also use a variety of evidence to prove you suffer from a continuous movement work injury.

Showing That You Were Wrongfully Terminated or Punished

Unfortunately, some employers wrongfully terminate employees after filing workers’ compensation claims. Some may even dock pay, unnecessarily lay off an employee, or otherwise treat an employee unfairly after reporting an incident or injury. If you believe that your termination was due to reporting an injury or incident or attempting to file a claim, you can fight this bad-faith action by notifying the DWC and working with a workers’ compensation lawyer.

Getting a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

A workers’ compensation lawyer Los Angeles can gather a wide variety of relevant evidence to strengthen the validity of your post-termination workers’ compensation claim. We can also make sure your claims are filed accurately, thoroughly, and on time. We can handle appeals and fight insurance companies or employers who would undermine your claim.The worker’s compensation claims process in California  is complex enough. If you are dealing with claims after being terminated, you can partner with a workers’ compensation lawyer to guide you through your claim from beginning to end.

KJT Law Group Can Help With Your Post-Termination Workers’ Compensation Claim

A workers’ compensation attorney from KJT Law Group is ready to review your case. Call us at (818) 507-8525 or reach out online to get a free consultation and learn more about how we can prevent you from an unfair post-termination defense.

We Will Fight For You

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