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Getting Fired After a Workers Compensation Injury5 minute read

Getting hurt is bad enough.  No one wants to suffer a serious injury.  It interferes with your ability to work and take care of yourself and those your care for.

It is even worse when your employer fires you after a workers compensation injury.  Having to focus on recovering from your injury while worrying about having a job can be very stressful.

Understanding what can happen if you get fired after a workers compensation injury can help relieve some of that stress.  You can handle things better if you know what to expect.  So, I wrote this article to give you some information that will help you understand the different things that can happen if your employer fires you after you get hurt at work.

Couple with denial letter from VAWill my employer fire me after I get hurt at work?

Maybe.  The important thing for you to understand is that it could happen and to understand when you are at most risk of it.

Georgia is an employment at will state.  That means that most employees have an employment at will relationship with their employers.  This means that you can generally quit your job whenever you want to, but it also means that your employer can generally fire you whenever they want to.

One of the common ways to describe employment at will is by saying that your employer can fire you for:

  • A good reason,
  • A bad reason, or
  • No reason at all

In other words, your employer does not have to fire you for cause.  They can just decide they are going to fire you.  As long as it is not a legally prohibited reason, you may not have any particular remedy over them terminating your employment.

There are certain legally prohibited reasons for termination.  A few of them are listed below, but some of these legal prohibitions only apply to employers of certain size:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy
  • Age

There are other legally prohibited reasons as well.  If you think your employer has wrongfully terminated you, you should get in touch with an attorney because there are deadlines for taking action.

Can my employer fire me while I have an open workers compensation case?

Yes.  An open workers compensation case does not prevent your employer from firing you.  I have seen many situation where employers have terminated someone while their workers compensation case is open.

What happens if my employer fires me after I start receiving workers compensation benefits?

Since an employer can fire you while your workers compensation case is open, you need to know what will happen if this does occur.  What happens depends on what type of workers compensation benefits you are receiving at the time you are fired.

If you are receiving benefits for lost wages because you are out of work, getting fired does not generally affect your right to continue receiving those benefits.  The basic reason for this is that you are still out of work as a result of your workers compensation injury.  So, the injury is causing you to lose money.

Unfortunately, the situation is much different if you are not receiving lost wage benefits for being out of work.  In this situation, getting fired puts you out of work with no money coming in.

This can be very difficult because you are trying to find a new job while you still have limitations from your injury.  Fortunately, there are some ways to get your workers compensation wage loss benefits started if your injury prevents you from getting a new job.  But, you usually have to prove this to a judge and there are special rules you have to follow.  A workers compensation attorney can be very helpful if you find yourself in this situation.

Does getting fired end my workers compensation case?

No.  Getting fired does not end your workers compensation case.  As I mentioned in the paragraph above, it does often affect what type of benefits you can receive.

Also, you need to be aware that there are deadlines that can prevent you from getting future workers compensation benefits.  One of these deadlines runs from the time that you last received workers compensation benefits for being out of work.

It is very important to be aware of these deadlines.  If you miss one of them, you can lose your rights to receive particular workers compensation benefits.  Certain deadlines can also just end your workers compensation case.

Perkins 329 Edit compressedWill I get fired if I hire a workers compensation attorney?

If you worry about this, you are not alone.  Many people ask me this question.

While Georgia law technically does not prevent your employer from firing you because you hired an attorney, I would be very surprised to see any employer do it.  I can also tell you this – I have never seen it happen.

There are several reasons that I would be surprised to see it happen:

  1. It would not look good to a workers compensation judge
  2. If you have already hired a workers compensation attorney when you get fired, you are going to be better able to pursue getting the benefits you should receive
  3. People who have hired an attorney in their workers compensation case are going to be more informed about whether they will be able to pursue a separate case over a wrongful termination

It is much better for your workers compensation case if you hire an attorney before you are fired.  This is because an attorney can advise you of the risks associated with being fired and hopefully help you avoid situations where you will get fired.

Hiring an attorney before getting fired also usually saves you money because of how contingency fee contracts work in a workers compensation case.  So, if you have concerns about getting fired, I would definitely recommend setting up a free consultation.

If your employer already fired you after you got hurt at work, I am sorry that you find yourself in that situation.  But, the good news is that it is not too late to find out what can be done to help (and it does not cost anything to find that out).

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

Brittney-lee orourkeBrittney-lee orourke
05:23 18 Feb 22
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team!-Brittney
China JonesChina Jones
18:58 08 Feb 22
I absolutely love this group of attorneys, when I was at my lowest they did everything they could to help me get justice for my injury. I believe if I were to have never picked my phone up and called the amazing group that helped me I definitely would not have received my idea of rights. If you have an issue and are just not sure please understand that they will help you, stay in contact, answer any question you have, and for sure get you the justice you deserve I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I will definitely refer them to anyone who has been hurt because they most definitely care about their work and clients.
Luv LocsLuv Locs
16:08 15 Jan 22
The entire law office was attentive and responsive to all of my concerns dealing with my workers compensation case.
moombimoombi
21:14 02 Jan 22
If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law.They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns.I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls.I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.
Dana BessDana Bess
23:57 10 Dec 21
Everyone at Perkins Studdard was kind and professional. They were always extremely responsive and answered all questions that I had and followed up to make sure I had an understanding of what was going on along with emailing videos to explain every step of my case so I would know what to expect and be prepared. Jason is a very genuine person and I trusted him with my case. He answered so many questions for me even before I retained him as my WC lawyer. I highly recommend him and his associates at Perkins Studdard.
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