Can I Be Fired for Filing a Workers Compensation Claim?

If you are injured at work, you have the right to file a workers comp claim and receive compensation for medical care costs and wage replacements. However, many workers do not file a claim and do not even consult a Tampa workers comp lawyer about their rights. The reason for failing to protect their rights is fear of losing their job.

This is also the first thing most potential clients, who schedule a free case review, want to know. So let us discuss this matter in detail: can your employer fire you for filing a claim?

Florida Law Protects Employees from Retaliatory Termination

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against workers who filed a claim by firing them. This is the core of Florida Statutes 440.205 sub-chapter of the body of laws governing worker’s compensation.

Thus, employees benefit from legal protection against losing their jobs just because they filed for workers comp benefits. However, this does not mean that you may not eventually lose your job.

Our State Has an At-Will Employment Policy

Just like most US states, Florida is an at-will state when it comes to employment. This means that the employee works at the employer’s will unless there is a specific contract stating otherwise.

Thus, an employee can be terminated at any moment, without a specific reason. This can happen while you are out on worker’s comp benefits.

Proving Retaliation Is Often Extremely Difficult

Some workers who are scared by the idea of losing their jobs for filing a claim want to know if a lawyer can help them prove retaliatory termination. In theory, it may be possible.

However, as the claimant, you will have the burden of proof in demonstrating that you were fired in retaliation for the claim. You would have to prove that:

  • You engaged in a statutorily protected activity – filing the workers comp claim
  • You suffered an adverse employment action, including threats and intimidation
  • There is a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse action.

Unless your employer made the threats or fired you for filing the claim in the presence of witnesses, it will be extremely difficult to prove your case. The employer can simply say that they need someone to do your job.

workers comp claim

So Is Filing a Workers Comp Claim Worthwhile?

Knowing this, you may wonder whether you should file a claim at all. The answer is definitely yes.

Here are just a few reasons for it:

  • Your health insurance may refuse to pay for treatment when they find out it is for a work-related injury
  • You will quickly get into debt if you cover medical care out of your pocket
  • Going to work while injured will affect your performance, and you may still lose your job.

But the most important reason is that, once your lawyer negotiates your workers comp settlement, you can focus on getting better and start looking for a new job. Workers’ comp benefits include not only medical care but also replacement wages – 2/3 of your average weekly wages.

You Can Get Your Benefits as a Lump Sum or Structured Settlement

Moreover, you may opt for getting your workers’ compensation settlement as a one-time payment (lump sum) or staggered over a period of time. No matter what your employer does, this amount of money is guaranteed to be given to you to repay medical bills and provide for your family.

Thus, you should not think twice about it – if you were injured at work, claim your rights.

Consult with an Experienced Tampa Workers Comp Lawyer!

Doing nothing after a work-related accident is the worst decision. You must remember to report your accident to your employer, seek medical care, and talk to an experienced Tampa workers comp lawyer.

Our attorneys represent clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no fees until we win your claim.  We also offer each new client a free case review, so call us today at 954-448-7355!

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