Wrongfully Terminated Because I Hurt Myself At Work 

If you have been wrongfully terminated, you may be able to pursue a complaint against your employer.

Wrongful termination is a situation in which an employee’s work agreement or contract is terminated by the employer and the termination breaches one or more terms of the employment contract, or violates a provision or rule pertaining to employment law on the state or federal level. 

Examples of Retaliation 

Laws require employers to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. If an employee suffers an occupational illness or is injured in a workplace accident, workers’ compensation will cover two-thirds of the lost wages and provide medical benefits.

Workers’ compensation offers no-fault coverage, so regardless of whether the accident is your fault, a co-worker’s fault, your employer’s fault, or just an accident, workers’ compensation coverage should take care of you. 

Can I Be Fired For Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Some workers are hesitant about filing a workers’ compensation claim. But if you have suffered a workplace injury or illness, the benefits offered by workers’ compensation insurance can provide a significant difference in your family’s financial situation.

You have a limited time to pursue a claim, and because of the mounting costs of medical expenses and your lost wages, you may not be financially stable without the process of pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. 

You are protected by state laws when it comes to pursuing a workers’ compensation claim, so you cannot be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

The details surrounding your workplace accident could affect whether you could be terminated from your job.

As an example, if the accident was your fault, you can still recover workers’ comp benefits.

However, if you violated company policy and that caused the accident, you could be terminated for violating the company regulations. 

You should always keep your company paperwork, such as the employee handbook and regulations, any employment contract or agreement, memos and emails, and other documents that detail the proper procedure and protocol.

The handbook or regulations should detail for what reasons you could be terminated from your work.

While you cannot be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim and while you are protected by filing a claim, there may be a legitimate reason for your termination per company policy and regulations. 

Terminating Employees 

Most employees across the country are employed using what is called “at will” employment. This means that employers have the right to fire an employee at any time and for any reason just so long as no civil rights are violated.

Just because you were hurt on the job and receiving workers’ compensation benefits doesn’t meant that your job is protected and that you cannot be terminated.

Your employer can basically fire you for anything, except they cannot specifically fire you for filing your workers’ comp claim. 

You are not suddenly protected from being laid off or from being fired because you have an active workers’ comp claim through your employer.

While your employer cannot specifically fire you because you are receiving workers’ comp benefits, or because you filed a workers’ comp claim, they can fire you for the actions that caused the accident.

As an example, if you were not wearing your safety gear, or if you were unsafely operating equipment or violating company rules, they have solid grounds for terminating you. 

What To Do After Being Fired For Getting Hurt While On The Job

If you have been fired because you were hurt on the job, you will need to gather evidence that shows the employer is in violation of company policy.

You should keep track of the employer’s behavior, and check to see if they have done this before. You will need to have proof that you were fired specifically for filing a workers’ compensation claim. 

Speak With An Employment Law Attorney

If you were terminated because you have filed a workers’ compensation claim because you were hurt while working, you should consult with an employment law attorney.

An employment law attorney understands the laws that apply to your situation and will know the best way to proceed with your claim against your employer. 

Some employment law attorneys work on a retainer while some work on a contingency fee, so you should talk about the payment process with your attorney.

Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to share the details of your case with an attorney in your area. 

Additional Resources

What Is the Average Wrongful Termination Settlement?

Workplace Retaliation – What Are My Rights?