Work injuries can happen to anyone, regardless of experience or skill level. They can also happen to just about any type of occupation. You may be either thinking about moving forward with a workers’ compensation claim or have already filed for benefits, however, you then get the news that you are fired from your job.
Nonetheless, your injury remains a very real issue for you, especially ensuring that your medical bills are paid for. What are your legal options at this point?
Don’t let your employer or anyone else tell you that you cannot get benefits because you have been terminated from your job. Contrary to what many workers think, you can still claim workers’ compensation disability benefits if you’ve been fired from your job before filing a claim.
Georgia's At-Will Employment Rule
Georgia follows at “at-will” employment rule. Essentially, this means that an employer has the legal right to terminate an employee at their own discretion. Without a written contract between the employee and employer, they can terminate you for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all.
Because of this at-rule doctrine, your employer can technically terminate you for being injured on the job. They may be under the false impression that, if they fire you before you have a chance to file a claim or before your claim is approved, then they don’t have to pay you benefits.
On the other hand, your employer may be well aware that you can still claim benefits, even if they do terminate you, but may try to purposefully give you false information that your rights to benefits go out the window as soon you’re let go.
Read our blog to learn what to do if your employer terminates you for filing a workers’ compensation claim and hiring an attorney.
Do not let your employer’s misinformation or false impressions deter you from contacting a workers’ compensation attorney for help pursuing benefits, even after being fired.
Your Rights to Workers’ Comp Benefits
Your employer can legally terminate you under Georgia’s at-will employment law, however, they cannot take away your rights to workers’ compensation disability benefits.
Whether or not they fired you before you either made a claim or got your claim approved does not matter. If you sustained the injury or contracted the illness as a result of your job duties, then your employer is responsible for paying you workers’ comp benefits, just like any employee who is still working.
Proving an Injury or Illness Was Work-Related
After being terminated, your employer or their insurance company may claim that your injury or illness was not a result of your work duties. They may try to say that you are only attempting to claim benefits because you are out of a job.
You don’t want to go up against these claims by yourself. Your skilled workers’ compensation attorney will gather all the evidence needed to prove that your injury or illness was a direct result of the job duties you were performing or the conditions you were working under.
Some pieces of evidence they may gather include:
The verbiage within your own claim
Providing You With Legal Advocacy
In order to claim disability benefits after being fired, it’s essential you immediately contact a workers’ compensation attorney. If you wait an extended period of time to take action, your employer or the insurance company may claim that there’s no evidence to link your injuries or illness to your job.
Don’t let your employer, their insurance company, or anyone else tell you that you don’t qualify for benefits without first speaking with a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney in your area.
Contact The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford at (770) 741-2825 to discuss your legal options. We are offering free phone consultations and remote legal services for those who are social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak.