Is it legal for my work to fire me after being hurt on the job? 41 Answers as of August 20, 2012

I operate heavy machinery and have a ground guide who shows me where objects are that may block my view and cause an accident. He pulled ahead and I ended up hitting a light pole and it caused me numerous injuries including a head concussion. My employer told me to go take an advil and go home for the day. I went home and didn't feel right so my wife drove me to the doctor's and that's when I found out I was actually hurt. My employer never offered any medical treatment. I was put on suspension with no pay for 3 weeks. After I filed for L&I, I was fired. I'm not getting workers comp, and they're fitting me for my unemployment. This was my first accident in 10 years of being an operator. What are my rights? Is there anything I can do?

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Law Offices of Stanley S. Lopata
Law Offices of Stanley S. Lopata | Stan Lopata
Why are you not getting workers comp? You are entitled to those benefits. You must contact an attorney at once to see what your rights are. Do not wait; do it immediately because your employer is wrong!
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/20/2012
Lombardi Law Firm
Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
Answer: It's illegal for an employer to fire a worker because he/she files for workers' compensation benefits. My guess is, and it's only a guess, the supervisor thinks you're making more of this than there the injury deserves. Your workers' compensation claim depends on the doctor's written instructions. Did the doctor relate your need for medical treatment to the mechanism of injury? If so did he/she take you off of work? If not you should have returned to work. I'd suggest you go to the HR department, sit down and discuss getting your job back; but first get something in writing from the treating physician.
Answer Applies to: Iowa
Replied: 8/13/2012
Law Office of Jared Altman
Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
Your remedy is probably only workers compensation. But consult with an employment/labor law specialist.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/13/2012
Nancy Wallace, Attorney at Law
Nancy Wallace, Attorney at Law | Nancy Wallace
You filed for "L & I"? What is " L & I"? You had an on-the-job injury, you desperately need to file a DWC-1 Employee Claim Form for Industrial Injury immediately, deliver it with proof the employer and the employer's workers comp company if you know the comp insurance company.

The doctors who treated you were by law supposed to send the employer a Doctor's First Report of Industrial Injury once you made clear to those docs you were hurt doing your job ... maybe you were unable to express clearly you were on the job when you were injured.

INSIST ON HIRING A CERTIFIED SPECIALIST IN WORKERS COMPENSATION LAW.

Cert. Specialists pass an extra bar exam just in workers compensation laws then take classes all year just in workers comp, so they are current on the new regulations and case decisions, but they cost exactly the same as non-specialists.

Your claim will be denied as a post-termination claim by the comp insurance company because you waited until you were fired to claim workers comp benefits, so you need a certified specialist who will take the matter to trial immediately with just the ER and treating doc chart notes to prove to a judge you were hurt prior to being terminated.

INSIST whoever you hire file a 132a Petition. That's the 'wrongful termination' part of the California Labor Code. It says it you prove you were terminated in retaliation for asking for comp benefits, you get re-instated plus at $10,000 penalty... IT'S A MISDEMEANOR CRIME TO FIRE A WORKER IN RETALIATION FOR REQUESTING COMP BENEFITS.

Most attorneys won't file and prosecute a 132a action. It's terribly time-consuming and almost impossible to win.

BE INSISTENT...NEVER SIGN ANYTHING with an attorney without first seeing that attorney's draft of your 132a petition. Thousands and thousands of attorneys take the injury part of the claim then refuse to prosecute the 'termination' part of the claim and the worker can't find a separate attorney to take just the 'termination' part of the claim because it isn't cost-effective for an attorney accept and prosecute only the most difficult and time-consuming part of your claim.

Go To Calbar.org on the web and find in the drop-down menu on the left "Specialists" and they are separated by county. Or, as you find them on attorney referral services, ask whether that attorney is a certified specialist in workers comp...not just a 'specialist' but certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization.Then if they say 'yes' go to calbar.org and see if they are lying or telling the truth.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/13/2012
Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
You need to see an attorney that handle workers compensation cases. If you do not have an attorney and you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to give our office a call. Darrell B. Reynolds, Sr. Attorney and Counselor at Law drey1954@cs.com 404-636-6616 "Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none."
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 8/13/2012
    NOLAN LAW LLC | Joshua J. Nolan
    Your employer has the right to terminate your employment for cause if they believe that you were negligent in the performance of your duties. However, under the facts described, it appears that they terminated your employment in response to your request for medical assistance benefits. If you can demonstrate that your termination was not a result of the incident in question, but rather as retaliation for seeking medical assistance benefits, you may have a viable claim against your employer for wrongful termination. I suggest that you consult with a local employment law attorney to further evaluate your claim.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    WILLIAM L SANDERS, ATTORNEY AT LAW | William L. Sanders
    Yes, a Georgia employer may discharge you for having an on the job injury. You are not protected from discharge.

    1) You should contact a workers' compensation (WC) attorney. I do not do that type of work, but could refer you to several WC attorneys. It sounds like you have a good WC case. The WC attorney fees likely will be paid by the employer, at no cost to you.

    2) You should contact me or another unemployment compensation (UC) attorney. It sounds like you have a good UC case, but GA DOL is likely to deny you benefits at the initial stage, and you are likely to loose your hearing, without an attorney.

    The UC attorney fees are limited to $300 in Ga. Unfortunately, WC and UC are the consolation prizes, compared to loosing your job.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith | Mark L. Smith
    You have a right to file a petition for compensation and medical payments in workers compensation court.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Yes, you may have both an employment law case and certainly a workers comp case. Both require speciality attorneys.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Office of Robert J. Slotkin | Robert J. Slotkin
    First, you should get your unemployment. If they challenge, request an appeal. Second, you should be getting w/c. They have to tell you who the w/c carrier is and you need to file a claim. Third, an employer may not fire you in retaliation for filing a w/c claim. You can take them to court if that's their motivation. I don't know what L&I is.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry | Charles R. Perry
    It seems clear to me that you have rights under the worker's compensation, at least for your medical costs. You should ask your former employer's human resources department to provide you with guidance. If they are of no help, then I would contact an attorney with worker's compensation background. It is unclear to me without more facts as to whether you have a retaliatory discharge claim. There will also be a question of what damages you may recover, depending on the seriousness of your injuries.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Timiney Law Firm
    Timiney Law Firm | Leigh Anne Timiney
    Generally, Arizona is what is called a "right to work" state which means an employer can fire an employee for really any reason or no reason at all. That being said, there are a few exceptions and one of those exceptions is an employer cannot fire an employee solely for making a workers compensation or on the job injury claim. I would suggest you contact an employment law attorney in your area and seek a consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    Demand your employer to contact Workman's Comp, you also contact workman's comp.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
    You are entitled to workers' compensation in this situation.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Steven Miller | Steven Miller
    Great question. You cannot be terminated in retaliation for filing a workers comp claim. HOWEVER, if the underlying action (which led to your injury) was wrong or a violation of company policy, that could be the basis of why you were terminated. So if you drove the vehicle improperly, which you believe you did not, you could be let go. thoughts: 1. is there an employee manual which discusses discipline or termination? If yes, did the company follow that (e.g. 2 warnings must be given). 2. you should speak with a workers comp attorney no matter what your answer to number 1 is. 3. Are you in a union? If yes, the rules of how to proceed may be different. 4. Make sure you received all your correct accrued vacation pay you are entitled to.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Reeves Aiken & Hightower | Arthur K. Aiken
    In South Carolina, you have a worker's compensation claim. This claim survives your termination. South Carolina law also prohibits termination of an employee for making a worker's compensation claim.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    The Murphy Law Firm
    The Murphy Law Firm | Candace M Murphy
    You should consult with an attorney immediately. The attorney should have a wealth of knowledge in the employment law arena. The attorney will be able to better question you regarding the particulars of the accident and assist you in determining (1) whether or not you have a claim and (2) what are your chances of success on that claim.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    James M. Osak, P.C.
    James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
    Sounds like your company VIOLATED the Workers' Comp. Laws. Go get 'em.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    KEYL ADR Services, LLC | Mark D. Keyl
    Normally not. In general if you work for an employer that has 5 or more employees you must be covered under Workers' Comp. You must notify your employer of your injury. I would suggest contacting the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission at 601-987-4200 with your problem.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Cleveland & Metz
    Cleveland & Metz | Charles Cleveland
    It is illegal under labor code section 132 a to retaliate or discriminate against an injured worker for filing a workers compensation claim. You are definitely going to need an experienced workers compensation attorney as your case has multiple issues.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    Pursue the workers comp case and perhaps (but not likely) you might have a claim for wrongful termination. Unless you had an actual contract of employment- Idaho is an at will state- meaning your employer can terminate you at any time with or without reason.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Offices of Michael N. Stafford | Michael N. Stafford
    In the state of California you can not be terminated after suffering a work related injury and all California businesses are required to carry Workers Compensation Insurance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Durkin & Graham, P.C.
    Durkin & Graham, P.C. | Joan Durkin
    It is not clear from your write up whether the employer has workers compensation or an accident (ERISA) plan. The rules are very different so we need to know who your employer is so we can find out what the coverage is. You can't be fired because of having filed an a work comp injury but having an on the job injury, also does not make you bullet proof from being fired. Typically you will win the unemployment if this was a first offense. If you will provide the employer name we can see if they have workers comp.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C.
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
    You have a case for Worker Compensation to pay your lost wages, all medical related bills, and permanent impairment (if any). You also have a potential claim for a retaliatory firing and you should pursue that as well.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
    No, The Worker's Comp statute has a specific cause of action for a retaliatory termination. Contact a Comp lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    Not much. Sounds like you were fired for hitting a light pole.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Behren Law Firm
    Behren Law Firm | Scott Behren
    YOU need to get an attorney to help get your unemployment and your workers comp. They can't fire you for a workers compensation claim. Get a lawyer soon.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Sedin Begakis & Bish | Mindy Bish
    You may have a claim for disability discrimination. I am also unclear as to why you haven't filed a worker's comp case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
    You cannot be fired to attempting to file a worker's compensation claim after being hurt on the job.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Holcomb Chaffin Rogers & Finn | William M. Chaffin
    The employer may have a right to terminate you, but if the employer had five or more employees, then it should be carrying workers' compensation insurance which would cover your on the job injury for medical expenses and possibly for your injury, depending on severity and length of disability.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Lennon Miller O'Connor and Bartosiewicz PLC | Christopher Morris
    You have a definite claim for workers compensation benefits. While an employer cannot terminate you for being hurt or making a claim for benefits, they can terminate your employment for breaking company rules or policies. Workers compensation provides wage loss benefits to cover 80% of your preinjury wages (including the value of discontinued fringe benefits) and 100% of your medical expenses including a mileage reimbursement for medically necessary travel. You may be eligible for unemployment benefits if your doctor has released you to return to work with some restrictions that would allow you to look for work that you might have done in the past. There are many attorneys in Michigan with experience in workers compensation and represent injured workers on a contingency fee basis. You should set up an appointment with a qualified attorney right away.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    If you injury is work related you should be covered as to medical and limited wage loss.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Brankey & Smith, P.C. | Rodney L. Smith
    You have a work comp claim and a wrongful discharge claim.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Lee Law Group | Ernest Lee
    Friend, Yes, it sound like wrongly termination, unless there is something else you are leaving out. In addition, you should be able to obtain med care through Worker's comp.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Mike Yeksavich | Mike Yeksavich
    Get a lawyer and file a workers' compensation case. If an on the job injury is so severe that a person cannot return to their job then they can be let go. However, they still have available in proper cases workers' compensation and unemployment.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Offices of Koron & Podolsky, LLP
    Law Offices of Koron & Podolsky, LLP | Daniel J. Podolsky
    You should consult with an attorney immediately. Your potential causes of action would depend on some additional facts. However, it appears you may have a cause of action for a Labor Code 132a violation, or a wrongful termination claim. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Offices of David W. Hibbert
    Law Offices of David W. Hibbert | David W. Hibbert
    It may depend upon your disability. Generally, an employer can fire you for whatever reason they choose in Georgia, so long as it's not a Constitutionally protected category. Your claim , if any, for injury on the job, remains in place and the fact that you have been fired does not change benefits you may be entitled to under state laws. The firing in such situations may be a pretext and a sham which your lawyer can use to your advantage in resolving the claim.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A.
    Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. | Charles Cartwright
    You should have rights under Florida's Workers' Compensation laws. You may also have a claim for retaliation. You should contact a Workkers' Compensation lawyer to evaluate your claim.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Mansell Law LLC
    Mansell Law LLC | Greg R. Mansell
    This sounds like a workers' comp retaliation claim. The statute of limitations on a workers' comp claim are3 very short. Within 90 days of the termination date, you must give the employer notice that you are considering filing a workers' comp claim. Within 180 days of the termination, you must file suit.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Coane and Associates
    Coane and Associates | Bruce Coane
    You could file an EEOC charge for discrimination. Our law firm represents individuals with such claims.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/13/2012
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