What Happens to My Workers’ Compensation If I Get Laid Off?

If you are laid off before, during, or after an injury you sustained at your workplace, you should be able to retain your workers’ compensation benefits, though it may prove to be a little complicated. That is why you should contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman, with services available in Seaford, Newark, and Wilmington. We’ll ensure that nothing illegal or suspicious is going on with your benefits and job while you work on recovering from your workplace injury.

What Happens to My Workers’ Compensation If I Get Laid Off?

Getting injured at work can be a hassle. While you have workers’ compensation to pay your medical bills and provide an income, being out of work with an injury can often be nerve-wracking. While your employer cannot fire you for being out of work with an injury that you suffered on the job, your employer may use this opportunity to find some other legal, but devious, reason to let you go.

Can I be fired for my Delaware workplace injury?

According to the Delaware Department of Labor, “the workers’ compensation statute prohibits the employer from firing or in any other manner discriminating against an employee because the employee has claimed or attempted to claim workers’ compensation benefits, or because he/she has testified, or is about to testify in a workers’ compensation case.”

Your employer cannot fire you for filing for workers’ compensation benefits. However, employers may wish to fill your position before you are ready to return to work, and may find some other reason to fire you, as Delaware is an at-will employment state. An at-will employment state means that “an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason without incurring legal liability.”  This is one of the many reasons why hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer is a good idea.

If you are fired while collecting workers’ compensation benefits, and you are looking to also collect unemployment benefits, you will be unfortunately disappointed. Since you need to be working at your place of employment to be receiving workers’ compensation, if you are fired, you can no longer collect those benefits. Further, you can only collect unemployment benefits if you are unemployed. You can only collect one or the other.

If your employer fires you before you are able to file for workers’ compensation benefits, you can still file for them after you have lost your job, so long as the injury is related to your former job.

What are some examples of common workplace injuries in Delaware?

There are potential risks and hazards that come with every job, even though workplaces such as chemical plants and construction sites are inherently more dangerous. Some common workplace accidents include:

  • Falls. These types of injuries usually happen at construction sites or other jobs where one has to work at a certain height, but they can happen anywhere. From warehouses to the stairwell at your office job; from cranes to ladders to scaffolding. These falls can cause serious damage, such as spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and traumatic head injuries.
  • Falling or Moving Objects. Having a heavy object fall on you or hit you can leave you with life-altering injuries. Again, the most common workplace where these accidents happen is at construction sites, but heavy objects can fall on you in any environment.
  • Overexertion. When you work too hard, your mind and body become weaker and less able to perform your job safely. OSHA has specific regulations in regard to safe limits for employees for lifting heavy objects or moving certain equipment, and if these regulations are ignored, it can result in severe injuries.
  • Auto accidents. Some jobs take you out of the office and out onto the road. Perhaps it’s an errand or a trip to a client’s office. No matter where you are going, the risks of the road are always there, and if you end up in an accident, our attorneys will assist you in understanding your rights when it comes to work-related auto accidents.
  • Equipment – or tool-related accidents. Unsafe heavy or hazardous equipment and machinery can cause serious injuries not only to yourself, but possibly to your coworkers around you. Accidents resulting in crushing injuries or chemical burns can leave you in pain and discomfort for a long time, and may even cause disfigurement.

These work-related accidents can leave you injured and out of work for weeks or months, and we’ve seen that not all employers will put up with your position being empty for so long. You should contact our workers’ compensation attorneys to help you receive all the benefits and compensation you deserve while you are healing.

If you have been injured in the workplace and are interested in collecting workers’ compensation benefits, do not wait. It is important for you to file your claim as soon as you can after you have been injured. While your employer cannot fire you for filing for or collecting workers’ compensation benefits, they can still let you go if they want to, so long as their reasons are legal. If you find yourself in a similar situation, it’s important that you contact our professional and experienced attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman. We’ll ensure that you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled. To schedule an appointment, call 302-888-2900 or fill out our contact form.  Our legal services extend throughout Delaware from our offices in Newark, Wilmington, and Seaford.