A bad workplace accident can happen to anyone, from the most responsible and safest worker to a new hire who is not taking their job seriously. The prevalence and constant risk of a workplace accident or injury is part of the reason why workers’ compensation is devised as a no-fault system. You can get workers’ comp benefits following a workplace or job-related injury even if it was your own mistakes that caused your injuries.
If your own fault doesn’t automatically disqualify you from getting workers’ comp benefits, then what about your employment status? Do you keep workers’ compensation benefits if you get fired by your employer? In the majority of cases, the answer is ‘yes.’ You can keep getting necessary workers’ compensation benefits even if your employer fires or terminates you after your workplace accident.
Workers’ compensation is meant to cover necessary medical treatments needed after a work-related injury. It can also provide wage replacement benefits if you are unable to work for a while due to the severity of your injuries. Nowhere does it say you need to be currently employed to get those owed benefits.
Workers’ Comp Doesn’t Protect Your Job
One misconception that many people have about workers’ compensation is that it makes them immune from being fired while they are receiving the benefits. This is not true. If you are employed at-will, as most people are, then your employer can still fire you for practically any reason and at any time.
In some cases, an employer has to downsize its company or restructure it, which ends up causing jobs to be lost in the process. You could be one of those people who are laid off or terminated if it makes sense for the company’s direction. Your boss could even conduct a performance review after your accident, determine you are not performing your job duties to their expectations, and fire you before you get a chance to come back to the workplace, and they would not be violating any employment laws.
What an employer cannot do is fire you because you filed or want to file for workers’ compensation. Some dishonest employers actually try to terminate an employee quickly after a workplace accident in hopes that this will stop them from filing a claim and raising their workers’ comp insurance premiums. If you were fired before you filed, then talk to a workers’ compensation attorney in your area right away. Despite your employer’s best efforts, you still have the right to file a claim before any statutes of limitations expire.
My Employer is Bankrupt – Do I Still Get Workers’ Comp?
Yes, you should still be provided your workers’ compensation benefits as normal even if your employer terminates you because the company went bankrupt. Workers’ compensation benefits are provided by insurers, not employers, so your coverage should be available even after your workplace closes for good. Do not let your employer convince you that you cannot get or continue workers’ comp benefits because they have filed for Chapter 11.
Do you need help understanding your rights and options as an injured worker in Chicago? Leonard Law Group and our workers’ compensation attorneys can help. Dial (312) 487-2513 today.