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Can You File a Workers Comp Claim After Termination?

If you’ve been fired from your job after suffering an injury, it is possible to collect workers’ compensation. However, workers’ comp processes can make filing for and recovering those benefits extremely complicated.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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What is Workers' Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is insurance that provides cash benefits and/or medical care for workers who are injured or become ill while performing duties of their employment. Employers pay for workers' comp, and the employee does not have to pay into the cost of compensation. Workers' comp benefits are paid by the employer’s insurer, as directed by the Workers’ Compensation Board, which is a state agency that processes the claims.

What is Post-Termination Defense?

A worker who is fired or laid off may be denied workers' compensation benefits by the employer if an injury is not reported before the employee has been let go. The method used by the employer to deny benefits in this situation is referred to as the “post-termination defense“.

What is the Employer's Responsibility When a Worker is Injured?

After a worker is injured or suffered an illness as a direct result of their duties, an employer must do 2 things:

  • 1. Provide a workers' compensation claim form to the employee within 1 working day of the injury or illness being reported.
  • 2. Return a completed copy of the claim form to the employee within 1 working day of receipt.

Are Employers Responsible for Non-Workplace Injuries?

If an employee is injured outside of work, the employer is not obligated to pay workers' compensation benefits; however, the employer still has responsibilities.

Employers must allow the employee to take time off work to recover and undergo medical treatment. This situation can result in the employee using their sick leave or vacation days for their time off.

Related Article: What to Do After an Injury at Work?

What is Not a Work-Related Injury / Illness?

An injury or illness is not considered to be work-related if it is the result of:

  • Personal grooming
  • Self-medication for a non-work-related condition
  • Intentionally Self-Inflicted

Who Determines Work-Related Injuries?

If the employer decides that an employee's injury or illness is not work-related, and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) subsequently issues a citation for failure to record, the Federal Government has the burden of proving that the injury or illness was work-related.

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