Know Your Rights: Can Your Employer Fire You for Filing for Workers Comp?

Worker’s Compensation Claim form for Comp on Injury employment

People suffer injuries every day in various locations. But when someone gets hurt while working, it complicates matters.

An employee who gets an injury must follow the rules and regulations of their employer to receive treatment and compensation.

If a worker breaks a leg or hits their head on the door, then the direct supervisor and a workers comp representative need to know.

Informing both parties of the accident must happen. Failure to report an incident may cause delays in medical treatment and compensation or cause you to lose out on receiving benefits.

If the idea of reporting the injury to your employer makes you concerned, it’s okay. We have the information you need to understand workers compensation and why your employer can’t fire you for filing a claim.

Workers Comp Insurance Benefits

Worker’s compensation insurance benefits provide payments for lost wages, medical expenses, and disabilities after an employee suffer injuries or illnesses while working, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The benefits also cover the cost of funeral and burial arrangements when an employee dies on the job or from a work-related illness.

Payments get distributed after a three to seven day period. The types of benefits available include:

  • Death benefits – covers funeral, cremation or burial costs
  • Medical benefits – money for medical bills
  • Temporary total disability – cash payments and full recovery
  • Temporary partial disability – returns to work with smaller pay and fewer responsibilities
  • Permanent total disability – permanent disabilities and restricted tasks
  • Permanent partial disability – completely disabled and medical treatment can’t help improve it

In Georgia, employees out of work for seven days or more are eligible for “two-thirds of your weekly earnings, up to a maximum of $575 as a weekly income benefit” If the injury is severe, payments may last for up to 400 weeks, according to Georgia.gov.

Workers compensation benefits are helpful, but there’s a catch. If an employee files a claim and receives benefits, they are unable to start a personal injury lawsuit against their employer for pain and suffering damages. But you can file suit against third-party entities who are at-fault for the accident.

How Do You File a Claim in Georgia?

Filing a claim for workers compensation benefits is simple. First, complete and submit a WC-14 with State Board of Workers’ Compensation. A copy of the application goes to your employer and their representative of the workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

Each company is different, but some may complete and file the claim for you. 

A copy of the WC-14 is available on the State Board’s website, or you may contact them for a copy. 

If you need information on your employer’s insurance carrier, please contact the Coverage Desk at 404-656-3692.

Can My Employer Fire Me for Filing a Claim?

common question many people have is “will I get fired for filing a claim”? Your employer can’t stop your employment because you filed a worker’s compensation claim. But Georgia is an at-will state. So an employer can fire an employee who doesn’t have a contract.

Can I Receive Benefits If I Get Fired?

If you get injured while working, you are entitled to file a worker’s compensation claim. Your employer must carry worker’s compensation coverage if the company has three or more employees, according to Georgia.gov. 

Once a claim gets filed and approved the benefits will be paid out through your employer’s insurance carrier. You could lose your job even after payments begin. But benefit payments should continue after you no longer work for the company.

You can also continue to receive payments after returning to work if you have a permanent disability or your wages decreased.

Do I Need a Workers Compensation Lawyer?

If you have a workers comp case, you may need the help of an experienced attorney. Speaking with a lawyer may benefit you in many ways.

A workers comp lawyer might be able to answer questions about filing a claim and what happens if it gets denied. Working with an attorney allows you the support of someone who knows the legal system and the steps necessary to get benefit payments approved.

An attorney could help complete forms, including the WC-14 or other essential paperwork, which allows you to focus on treatment and healing.

Retaliation

Some employees fear their employer might try to retaliate for filing a workers compensation claim. Signs of retaliation may be changes in shifts, demotion, negative evaluations, changing tasks with no warning, or decreasing wages.

If you believe your employer is retaliating against you speak with a workers comp attorney. By obtaining a lawyer, you have the help of a trained professional who could guide you on what steps to take.

Filing a Personal Injury Suit

Receiving workers compensation benefits bans you from filing a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. But a claim could get submitted for a third party entity responsible for the accident which caused the injury. 

Consulting a workers comp lawyer may help you decide whether a personal injury lawsuit is possible or a potential waste of time.

Schedule a Consultation

Workers comp cases may seem complicated and frustrating. But hiring a trained workers compensation attorney could alleviate some of the emotional stress involved. A lawyer with years of experience might know the process of filing a claim and getting it approved, so you receive benefit payments fast.

If you enjoyed this post, please search our Legal section for more helpful tips on law-related topics.

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