Many injured workers are worried that the injuries they suffered at work will not only keep them off work temporarily but cost them their job.
If you got injured while performing your work duties, then there is a good chance that you will have to take some time off. With the help of workers’ compensation benefits, you should be able to rest assured that you won’t get in debt because of your medical bills or the inability to pay for basic expenses.
However, many injured workers are worried that the injuries they suffered at work will not only keep them off work temporarily but cost them their job. In this article, we will go through your rights as an employee, and what will generally happen to your job if you miss work for too long. It is important to note that, because each case is unique, you should discuss the specifics of your case should be discussed with an experineced attorney.
Can You Be Laid Off While Receiving Workers’ Compensation?
Missouri and many other states are referred to as “at-will” employment states. This means that your employer is free to decide to fire you, except for discriminatory situations (based on gender, age, ethnicity, race, etc.). They also don’t have the right to fire you just because you got hurt and filed a workers’ comp claim.
This doesn’t mean that your job is guaranteed for you once you are fully recovered. As a business, your employer also has the right to secure its survival, and if filling in the position or removing it completely is needed in order to remain productive, you might be unemployed by the time you can return to work.
Another scenario involves you returning to work while you are still recovering. If the doctor who evaluates you decides that you can work with restrictions, you should be back there (as deciding to stay at home can cost you your benefits). Unfortunately, some workers in this situation are still laid off, after working at a reduced capacity for a while. Your employer might decide to accept you back or decide to let you go if you can only work at a reduced capacity.
What Happens If You’re Left Without a Job After Workers’ Compensation?
If you are left with no job while you are still receiving workers’ comp benefits, they will not stop just because you are not working at that moment. Since you got hurt while you were an employee, workers’ compensation may cover your entire recovery.
What you need to know, though, is that your right to receive benefits as long as your employment is terminated by your employer’s decision, not yours. If you are given the green light to work with restrictions and you decide that the position you’re given is too demeaning for you, you can lose your benefits.
If you are left with no possibility to work, the insurance company that covers workers’ comp claims on behalf of your employer might negotiate a settlement.
What Can You Do
Our strong recommendation is to discuss the specifics of your case with an experienced St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible if you are injured at work. An experienced attorney can ensure your legal rights are protected throughout the entire process and can also help you determine if you were wrongfully terminated.
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