I Was Fired ! (Can I be Fired?)
Can I be Fired if I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Georgia?
Yes, your employer can fire you in retaliation for your decision to pursue a Georgia workers’ compensation claim. Georgia law allows for this.
However, the news is not all bad…
- Your claim for benefits does not go away just because you are fired. Your claim survives even if your job goes away.
- You remain eligible for all workers compensation benefits including lost wage payments, company provided medical care, transportation reimbursement and the opportunity for a lump sum settlement.
- In many case the settlement value of your Georgia work injury case goes up if you are fired because your employer cannot offer you a phony light duty job.
- Even if your employer does not fire you right away, most of the time, the settlement paperwork you sign when you receive your lump sum includes a job resignation. Most employers see injured workers as potential liabilities.
You may be wondering if there is any law that protects you from getting fired after you file a workers’ compensation claim. Interestingly, the answer to this question is “no.” There is nothing under Georgia workers’ compensation law to prevent a company from firing an injured worker who cannot return to work because of a covered work injury. My experience has been that even if your supervisor is not inclined to fire you, the worker’ compensation insurance company will insist that you are too much of a liability and will insist that you be terminated as part of any settlement.
A termination of your employment due to a work injury will not cancel or otherwise impact your rights to claim benefits under the workers’ compensation law. Actually, in many cases, getting fired can help your case. Why? If you have been terminated and the workers’ compensation doctor releases you to light work, the insurance company cannot make a light duty job available because you are no longer an employee.
Further, if you are fired, you may have potential claims under the Americans With Disability Act (ADA) or Family Medial Leave Act (FMLA) which you can waive in exchange for a larger settlement.
Finally, if you are fired, any illusions you may have about returning to your old job will disappear. Your focus can be completely on getting better and maximizing your settlement before moving on.
I know that it can be scary to see your job disappear, especially when you are sitting at home unsure about what the future will bring. As your lawyer, I will help you recover weekly wage benefits to help pay the bills, and fight to see to it that you receive quality medical care . And when it comes time to settle, I will advise you about how to recover the largest possible lump sum so that have money to start the next phase of your life.
Will Getting Fired Disqualify Me from Weekly Wage Benefits or Medical Care?
No, as long as you were injured while still employed, being terminated will not change your right to collect benefits under your now former employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy.
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