Can they fire me for being on workers' comp?

 

We get a lot of employment-related calls when it comes to DC workers' compensation. Some people who call in have even expressed a reservation for filing a DC workers' compensation claim because they are afraid they will get fired as a result. Many people are gun-shy about filing, and they really have no idea what their rights are. So, here we are to dispel the myths.

  • If I am an at-will (right to work) employee, can I lose my job while on workers' comp?
    • Yes, but not for filing a workers' compensation claim. An at-will employer can terminate your employment pretty much at any time, for any reason, except for retaliation. Retaliation is hard to prove, but if you have been fired for filing a workers' compensaiton claim, you should contact an attorney who practices employment law in addition to a lawyer who handles workers comp injury cases. Give us a call and we can get it sorted out for you. 202-393-3320.

 

  • If I lose my job, will I lose my workers' compensation claim?
    • Nope. Your employer is required to carry workers' compensation insurance, and the insurance claim is separate from your relationship with your employer. So, even if they let you go or replace your position, your workers' compensation claim survives. That being said, your workers' compensation adjuster may try to manipulate you into thinking that you can't get workers comp benefits after you are let go at work, so call us and find out the truth about the workers comp system and your claim.

 

  • What happens to my pension if I am let go at work?
    • Your benefits and retirement plans are separate from workers' comp and are not affected by your work injury or being on workers comp (except that you or your employer aren't usually contributing while you're being paid workers comp benefits) Check the fine print on your pension, IRA, 401k, and other employer/employee contribution agreements. But for any high income earner, it's another reason to get an experienced DC workers comp lawyer to make sure your case is done right and you don't end up losing everything you've worked for. 

 

  • Can I file for social security disability if I'm on DC workers' compensation?
    • Sure. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will take into account all of your medical conditions (not just your work injury) and there is often a credit or reduction in SSDI benefits if you are receiving workers comp (all of our workers comp settlements for every one of our clients are designed to reduce that credit and maximize all of your benefits).  The SSA often denies the first application for social security, much like workers' comp often denies the first filing for benefits. We have a contact that we work with who deals with social security, so just let us know if you need a referral.

You shouldn't worry about losing your job due to retaliation; we rarely ever see that. But, if you are on DC workers' compensation you should be aware that many times employers will only hold your position for you for so long. If you have a catastrophic injury you might have to let go of your position. Vocational rehabilitation and turning lemons into lemonade is a whole different conversation, but suffice it to say we have seen clients go through the process and transition to a lighter duty career. We have also seen clients start their own business and thrive. So, never lose hope! A setback doesn't have to mean a failure -- there is life beyond a serious work injury, and a good life at that!

 

If you have questions about DC workers' compensation, or you are afraid that an insurance adjuster is taking advantage of you (you're probably right about that), give us a call today! 202-393-3320 -- you will speak with a real person who wants to hear your story!