Can I be fired for filing a workers' compensation claim?

TerminatedWoman.jpgYour rights as an injured worker are protected.

Under Louisiana and federal law, you cannot be fired for getting injured on the job or for filing a workers' compensation claim.

In reality, some employers discourage workers from filing claims or retaliate when they do. Rather than blatantly firing a worker for seeking workers' comp, employers may fabricate some other justification -- a bad performance review, an alleged violation of company policy, a layoff for "business reasons."

To protect yourself, it is always advisable to get the claim on record and seek legal counsel. A lawyer with specific experience in workers' compensation law can uphold your rights in the claims process, in appealing a denied claim, or in a lawsuit for illegal discrimination. Don't let the fear of backlash prevent you from asserting your rights.

What are the consequences of NOT filing for workers' comp?

There are few hard statistics, but some people do lose their jobs after getting injured at work. They may be let go shortly after filing the claim. More typically a termination happens six months or more down the line. This should not deter you from filing a claim. The law is on your side. An employer could be open to a wrongful termination lawsuit for workers' compensation discrimination.

You must also consider what might happen if you don't file for workers' compensation. Suppose you decline to report the injury or file a claim ... and then your injuries linger or worsen. The employer or insurance company may deny benefits if there is a long lag time between the incident and the claim. They will challenge whether the injury was serious or if it was even work-related.

Or suppose you never file a claim and the employer lets you go anyway. That could be disastrous - forfeiting your right to workers' compensation benefits AND your grounds to sue for discrimination. Then, if you do not fully recover from your injuries, who is going to hire you with a pre-existing medical condition?

Don't take chances. Talk to a work injury lawyer.

Many employees are reluctant to file a workers' comp claim, out of fear or loyalty. But you cannot take risks with your health and your livelihood. Remember, you cannot legally be fired for filing a claim. If an employer tried it, our workers' compensation attorneys would aggressively pursue legal action. Call the Schwarz Law Firm LLC to discuss your work-related accident or injury. We offer free consultations, with offices in Metairie and Baton Rouge.

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