The number of work-related injuries every year cost our economy a total of $15.1 billion across all industries. When people are injured on the job, many employers don’t see a hurt colleague, but immediately start thinking about lost funds.
If you’ve been injured at work, an employer’s misguided thinking could end up costing you your job.
If you get fired from your job while you’re injured, your employer might have broken the law. While there are some valid reasons for this, like being intoxicated at work or starting an altercation, your employer might be in the wrong. You need to have someone look at the situation objectively before you make any decisions.
If you’re let go from your job following an injury, you might be overwhelmed and upset. Follow these 5 steps to ensure you get what you’re owed.
1. Don’t Sign Anything
One of the first things that might happen when you find out you’re being let go is that your employer might put a form in front of you. They could make it seem like the most innocuous thing in the world. No matter what, don’t sign it.
Signing something when you’re overwhelmed with emotion or anger could lead to problems down the line. You might want to get out of the office and get on with your life. You’ve been injured at work and you’re not getting sympathy, so it’s only natural to be frustrated.
Your employer could be asking you to sign something that makes you liable for your own injury. They could be doing this for a number of reasons. It could be that they want to protect someone else or that that just want to protect themselves.
They might believe that a claim on their insurance will lead to higher costs. For this reason, they might want to avoid allowing any claim to be made.
While you might not feel heavily injured now, you could be facing more problems in the future. Signing away your employers’ liability keeps you from getting compensated later.
You could be signing something that prohibits you from suing your boss in the future. The last thing you need is to be out of a job, injured, with no way to hold the anyone accountable.
2. Save Every Document That You Can
You never know what could be the form that proves that you have a case. Whether it’s through emails to your company account, text messages, or the company handbook, your employer might have violated their own policies. They might even have company policies that aren’t 100% legal.
In order to be able to form a case later, make sure you save any discharge forms or letters that you get from your employer. Anything that relates to your injury or your dismissal could hold the key to your case.
Also, keep any forms relating to positive employee assessments or reviews. If you can prove you were an asset and that you were regularly being commended, you can only strengthen your case with the courts.
Save paystubs and any earnings reports. When it comes time to start calculating how much you’re owed or what their payments should be, you’ll need a concrete place to start the conversation.
3. Get Checked By A Doctor
If you haven’t yet gone to a doctor, it’s time to get down there. If you went to an ER after your injury, make sure you keep track of every form you got.
Get copies of any scans or x-rays taken. These will be necessary for showing your lawyer and, later on, the courts. Your documents can be assessed by your lawyers own hand-selected specialists.
Have your doctor write about the possibility you’ll suffer chronic pain and issues later on. While you might be suffering only mild issues now, if these persist for years or the rest of your life, you will be entitled to some payments.
So long as your doctor is reliable and articulate, you should be able to make a convincing case to the courts.
4. Talk To A Lawyer
While you might have already been speaking to a lawyer, it’s now time to get serious with one. Let them know every detail that you can, provide them with all the material, and see what they can recommend.
If you need help finding an attorney, check out our guide to finding the right one.
Listen to any suggestions your doctor gives you. If they say you need to get a test done again, listen to their recommendation. They’ve probably seen cases like yours before and they know what the courts need to see to be convinced in your case.
If there are documents you need to gather, make sure you get them to your lawyer as soon as possible. They could be in negotiations with the lawyer from your former workplace by the end of the day. If you give them everything they need, you could see a settlement offer before the end of the week.
If you want to be rehired, they could negotiate that with your boss. While it could be hard to work for a company who has fired you before, you might have put in enough time where it doesn’t matter to you.
Otherwise, you might only be a couple of years from retirement and in a large enough company, you won’t have to work for the same boss.
Be open to resolving the issue and you’ll be able to get a better response from your former employer, even if you end up going to court.
Being Injured At Work Shouldn’t Leave You Jobless
Unless you were wildly negligent at your workplace, there’s no reason that an injury should leave you unemployed. It’s a vulnerable position to be in and no one deserves to be without the ability to make a living.
If you’ve been permanently injured at work, you deserve assistance in getting back to a place where you can work again.
If you’ve already received a workers comp settlement, you can still follow a few tips to ensure that your settlement is fair.