What Happens to Your Workers’ Comp Benefits If you Lose Your Job?
Getting injured while on the job is a difficult situation to deal with, but at least you have workers compensation to help you through the tough times. But what happens if you lose your job? Do you also lose your workers’ comp benefits? What if you quit your job versus being laid off or fired? These are all valid questions if you’re currently receiving workers’ compensation benefits, especially because you’re probably relying on that income to pay your bills. Here’s what one expert workers comp claim lawyer has to say about what happens to your workers’ comp benefits if you lose your job.
You Quit Your Job
Quitting your job doesn’t automatically disqualify you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. The insurance company that is paying your benefits is required to pay for your work-related medical treatments for as long as medically necessary, even if you no longer work for that employer. Of course, the charges must be reasonable and necessary, but that’s a requirement whether you’re still working for that employer or not.
It’s likely that your employer will try to tell you that you won’t receive workers’ comp benefits if you voluntarily quit your job, but in general, that’s not true. You may have to show that you are leaving the job because of the injury or because you were placed in a new role based on your injury restrictions that is not commensurate with your experience, education, and skills. However, an employer is required to continue to pay for your medical bills as long as they are reasonable and necessary.
You Are Fired or Laid Off From Your Job
It’s a common misconception that workers’ compensation benefits protect your job, but they do not. In an at-will state, an employer can fire you for just about any reason. They can fire you for job performance or lay you off for business reasons and can do it at any time. The good news is that your employer cannot fire you because you filed a workers’ compensation claim and you are still eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits if you’ve been fired or laid off.
Unscrupulous employers might try to fire or lay off employees that file workers’ comp claims as quickly as possible, thinking they won’t have to pay for an injury they received while on the job. The law protects employees from this scenario, though, and as long as your claim is reasonable and necessary, you’ll continue to receive the benefits you received while employed. Even if your employer declares bankruptcy, you’ll still be eligible for workers’ comp benefits for any work-related injury.
Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits Not Affected by Job Status
Discharging an employee either by firing them or laying them off does not get an employer off the hook for workers’ comp claims, including lost wages, expenses related to medical treatment, and permanent or temporary disability benefits. Keep in mind that your employer pays for workers’ compensation insurance whether their employees use it or not. If you’ve suffered an injury on the job, your employer has insurance to pay for it.
In most cases, leaving your job for any reason does not mean you’ll lose your workers’ compensation benefits. But, if your employer is trying to convince you otherwise or you were let go before you could file a claim, contact an experienced workers’ comp claim lawyer to protect your rights.