Can You Be Fired for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim? | Kanner & Pintaluga

Can You Be Fired for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

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The answer to that question is no. If you’ve been injured on the job and need help paying for treatment and making up lost income, this is likely just one of the many questions you have. All too often, Florida workers are hesitant to file legitimate workers’ compensation claims due to fear of retaliation from their employers.

You need your job, and any injury that prevents you from performing your job means you’re losing out on more and more income every week. How are you supposed to pay your rent or feed your family when you can no longer work?

Do you have health insurance? If not, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to pay for treatment and rehabilitation costs as well.

Getting injured on the job can have devastating effects, not just on your own quality of life but your family’s livelihood as well. If you find yourself in this situation, it may be in your best interest to contact a workers’ compensation attorney who can knowledgably answer questions about what your employer can and can’t do as well as provide advice on how you can continue supporting your family and get money to pay for medical treatments and rehabilitation.

Is my employer required to carry workers’ compensation insurance?

  • Most Florida businesses with four or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance
  • Florida construction companies and general contractors with one or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance
    • Out-of-state construction companies that are working on projects in Florida must also meet these requirements
    • If a construction company is using a subcontractor, the state of Florida considers the employees of the subcontractor to be employees of the construction company as well, meaning subcontractors must be covered by the construction company’s workers’ compensation policy
  • Florida farms and agricultural businesses with five or more regular employees and 12 or more seasonal employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance
  • All government contract employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance

How much time do I have to report my injury?

If you were injured on the job, you need to report it within 30 days of the incident. After you inform your employer, they are required to tell their workers’ compensation insurance provider within seven days.

What should I do if my employer refuses to report my injury to the workers’ compensation provider?

Your employer is required by law to report your claim within seven days of you giving them notice. If your employer is refusing to file your claim, you should immediately contact a workers’ compensation attorney.

What if I don’t have money to pay for treatment right away?

You should refer any medical billing to your employer’s workers’ compensation provider for payment of your treatments.

Will I continue to be paid if I can’t work due to my injury?

You likely won’t be paid for short-term injuries. If your on-the-job injury requires you to miss more than three weeks of work, you may be able to collect wage compensation for the previous three weeks.

How much of my income will I receive if I qualify for wage compensation?

You should receive approximately 66 percent of your normal wage. If you meet the requirements to receive compensation for lost wages due to your injury, you should begin receiving payments about three weeks after you first reported your injury.

How long can I get paid if my injury is preventing me from returning to work?

Temporary disability payments like these won’t exceed the 104 week maximum, so the most you can receive is two years of pay.

If I’m already receiving Social Security payments, can I still collect temporary disability checks through workers’ compensation?

The short answer is yes, but Florida law states your Social Security combined with your workers’ compensation benefits can’t exceed 80 percent of your average weekly pay, so your Social Security payments will be reduced while you are receiving temporary disability checks.

Can I receive unemployment and workers’ compensation payments at the same time?

No – in order to qualify for unemployment you are required to be medically capable of working.

Is my employer required to give me my old job back when I’m healthy enough to go back to work?

No – in Florida employers are not required to hold your job open for you.

Can I be fired for not being able to work and receiving workers’ compensation benefits?

No – your employer cannot legally fire you for either attempting to file a workers’ compensation claim or collecting workers’ compensation.

What if my employer or the insurance company is claiming my injury doesn’t meet the criteria for workers’ compensation benefits?

Injured employees whose claims are being denied can file a “Petition for Benefits.” This is essentially a formal legal request for governmental review of the situation. You have the option of filing this yourself, but many injured workers choose to use an attorney to assist with benefit denial situations.

What are my options if my injury is preventing me from returning to the type of work I was performing before?

There are public resources available for people in this particular situation. You can apply for reemployment services, which are provided through government agencies such as the Bureau of Employee Assistance and the Department of Financial Services. Some reemployment services include things like vocational counseling, retraining, transferable skills analysis, assistance with seeking new employment and more.