Dealing with a workplace injury can be difficult. It is incredibly common to feel fear or anxiety that your boss might fire you rather than give you the time you need to recover. For this reason, many injured workers avoid workers’ comp. claims and go back to work without getting the help they need. The question of whether your job will still be there after you heal from your injuries is always a concern – but in many cases, the law is on your side. Fayetteville workers’ compensation attorney Ken Kieklak explains the laws in Arkansas around getting fired because of a workplace injury or workers’ comp. claim.
Can You Be Fired While on Workers’ Comp.?
Being injured while performing your job can put a huge burden on you and your family. You may wonder where the money will come from if you can’t return to work and you could face concerns about whether your health insurance will cover your medical expenses. In many cases, it is vital to talk to an attorney right away to make sure that you protect your rights and get the help you need.
Workers’ compensation is a state-wide program designed to help injured workers get the care they need, continue receiving wages while they are recovering from their injuries, and get back to work. Nearly every business is required to pay for workers’ compensation insurance, which ultimately pays injured workers for their workers’ comp. claims. Workers’ comp. benefits can cover any medical expenses tied to a workplace injury as well as provide the injured worker with an ongoing wage, usually around 2/3 of their normal weekly pay.
There are many rules surrounding workers’ comp., and most of them deal with the relationship between the employer and employee during the injury and recovery period. First, it is important to understand that you should never be asked to pay into your workers’ comp. Insurance, nor should your employer ever dock your pay to help cover workers’ compensation expenses. Second, you should understand that many of the decisions about whether to accept or deny your claim are left to your employer and their insurance company. Because your employer or the insurance provider may want to cut costs, it is important to have an attorney on your side to help protect you during your claims.
Lastly, workers’ compensation rules dictate that your employer must hold your job open for your return as long as you are still trying to make it back to the workforce. One goal of workers’ comp. is to get injured people back to work, even if that means taking a less-demanding job after recovery. Your employer is required to work with you on this, and it may be illegal for them to fire you in many cases. Talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer about what you should expect after suffering an injury.
Can You Be Fired for Filing for Workers’ Compensation?
Your boss cannot fire you while you are receiving workers’ compensation, but can they fire you for simply filing? Being fired for simply filing a workers’ comp. application or reporting a work injury is considered “retaliation,” and also goes against employment law and workers’ compensation laws. Similarly, forcing you to resign could also be protected. Reporting your workplace injury to your boss (or the proper department) is one of the first steps in filing a workers’ comp. claim. You should never be afraid to report a serious injury and get the medical care you need, so this is also protected under Arkansas’ workers’ comp. rules.
If you are afraid to report your injury or file for workers’ comp., you can always talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer about filing your case. Hiring an attorney for your workers’ compensation case can help you file the proper notices and paperwork, help you get the necessary information and treatment plans from your doctor, and present these to your employer on your behalf. Having an attorney intercede for you can protect you from any potential problems later by ensuring that your filing process is done accurately, fully, and according to the Arkansas workers’ comp. rules.
If your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance company rejects your claim, they may be able to terminate your employment. If your claim is rejected on the grounds that your injury or condition is not work-related, your boss may be able to fire you if you do not show up to work. If your claim is rejected, it is important to talk to a workers’ comp. lawyer right away to file the proper appeals and ensure that you are covered by the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission’s protections.
Fayetteville Workers Compensation Lawyer Offering Free Consultations
After facing an injury at work, it is vital that you get the medical care you need and talk to an attorney about filing for workers’ compensation. The workers’ comp. system has many rules to protect injured workers and help them get the care and continuing wages they need. Delaying your case may harm your chances of having your claim accepted and give your employer opportunities to find their way out of paying you the benefits you deserve. For a free consultation on your case, contact Arkansas workers’ comp. lawyer Ken Kieklak today at (479) 439-1843.