When people typically think of a workers compensation claim, they automatically assume the employee is still working for the employer. While this is often the case, some injuries to not materialize until after an employee has been fired from their job. In certain circumstances, and injured employee can still recover workers compensation benefits after they have been fired.
It can sometimes be very difficult for an injured worker to recover their workers compensation benefits after they are fired. In order to recover your workers compensation benefits after you have been fired, you must prove several elements. These include:
- You suffered an actual physical injury or disability,
- The injury occurred in the "course and scope" of your employment, and
- The injury would not have occurred if you were not at that job.
Because an injured worker is trying to prove that they were injured on the job, but the injury did not appear until after they were fired, there are many defenses open to an employer or their insurance carrier. These include:
- The worker’s injury was not compensatable given a workers compensation statute,
- The injury did not occur in the "course and scope" of employment,
- An unreasonable amount of time exists between when the employee was fired and when the injury appeared, and
- The injury was caused by the employee’s own intentional conduct.
If an injured worker is successful in showing that they should recover workers compensation benefits after they are fired, they can generally recover any of the following:
- Cost of medical and disability expenses,
- Attorney’s fees and court costs,
- Vocational rehabilitation expenses,
- Penalties to the employer, and
- Interest on any amount not forthcoming.
If you have been fired and now have a work-related injury that you think entitles you to workers compensation benefits, it is highly recommended for you to contact a workers compensation attorney because of the complex issue of when the injury happened and when it appeared. Only an attorney can adequately explain the issues and help in the recovery of any benefits to which you are entitled.