How do I recover workers' compensation benefits after I'm terminated?
If you have left your job, either by choice or because you were fired, it can be very difficult to collect on a workers' compensation claim. However, being very difficult does not mean that it is impossible. You will need to look at several factors to determine if you will be able to make a valid claim.
Was the Injury Ever Reported or Treated Before Leaving the Position?
The first thing that must be proven is that the injury occurred while you were an employee and that the injury took place as part of your regular work duties. Documentation is always important to filing a workers' compensation case, especially for a former employee.
If you have notified anyone in the company about this injury, prepared any reports or have any type of proof that the injury occurred but was not reported to workers' compensation, you will have a better chance at having a claim approved. If there isn't any documentation regarding the injury, it will have to be determined by a professional that the injury is work-related and could not have occurred in any other situation.
How the Insurer for Your Employer Will Respond
In most cases, unless the injury is so apparent that the injury is work-related, the insurance carrier is going to initially deny the claim. Most insurers view a workers' compensation claim after an employee has been fired as a “revenge claim,” and they deny the claim.
Because this is an assumption on their part and not fact, as the injured party you will need to become aggressive and file for an appeal. It is at this point that you would benefit from the services of a workers' compensation attorney.
How a Workers' Compensation Attorney Can Help
If you are trying to make a claim for workers' compensation insurance after you have been fired, you will benefit from the experience of a workers' compensation attorney.
Your attorney can work aggressively on your behalf to negotiate with the insurer to cover your expenses. Your attorney can also show how the injury relates to your previous employment and make sure that the insurer compensates you for your losses.
What You Must Do When You Have Been Injured at Work
When you have been injured on the job, it is important that you report the injury immediately to management. Prepare any incident forms that are required by the company, even if medical care is not issued at the time of the event. Sometimes, when an accident occurs, the problems from that accident do not appear until a later time.
For example, a trip over a loose rug that seemed to only bruise a knee could have jolted your back. However, the back pain does not begin to really appear for a few weeks and then becomes a burden. Because you ensured that the accident had proper documentation, you will be more likely to have your treatment approved by those responsible for providing workers' compensation for your injuries.
With that being said, if any type of accident occurs, you should also write down what you remember happened, any witnesses to the event, the date and time and, if necessary, take pictures of what caused the accident. This is for your own protection.
Speak to an Attorney about Your Work-Related Injury
It is very important to remember that workers' compensation insurance is always going to look at their costs and not your health. You must have the proof that you need to make a claim or you will face a denial for benefits.
If you have been injured on the job, you need to protect your rights as an injury victim, whether you are currently employed or the company terminated you after you were injured. Speak to a workers' compensation attorney and determine what you should do to ensure that you receive all of the benefits that you are entitled to for your injury.