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Can an Employer Fire You While on Workers’ Comp in California?

 You were injured on the job, and now you’re on workers’ comp. However, now you’re worried that you could lose your job. Not having an income at this point in your life would be very detrimental. You’re asking: can an employer fire you while on workers’ comp in California? Find out the answer and determine if you need to hire a workers’ comp lawyer to help you.

If you got sick or injured while on the job and were subsequently fired, we’re here for you. Riverside, California workers comp and personal injury lawyers Heiting & Irwin have over four decades of experience assisting clients with personal injury. We have retrieved more than $400 million for our clients, and we’ll work hard to get you the settlement that’s rightfully yours.

Getting Fired on Workers’ Comp

 It’s understandable that you’re worried about getting fired while on workers’ comp. The honest answer is: Yes, you can get fired while on workers’ comp, but it cannot be related to your workers’ comp illness or injury.

Here’s what that means. Let’s say you were chronically late to your job or you took too much vacation time. Your employer was not pleased with you for doing this. When you are out on workers’ comp, they may use the opportunity to fire you for your poor work performance. California is an at-will employment state, so they can get rid of you any time they want. They just need a legitimate, legal reason for doing so. Other legitimate reasons can include downsizing because the company is not performing well or you are butting heads with your coworkers or bosses. The timing of your firing may be unfortunate, but it could also be totally legal.

There is a catch. Your employer can never fire you for taking workers’ compensation benefits or bringing a claim against them. They cannot fire you as retaliation for taking workers’ comp. You may be thinking: How do I know it was retaliation? If the reason for your firing was not true and/or you were always a good worker – and had no problems with your employer before you got injured or sick – then that’s a sign it may be a form of retaliation.

What to Do If You Get Fired on Workers’ Comp

 It’s best to speak to a workers’ compensation lawyer to see if you have a valid case for bringing legal action against your employer. If you believe you were fired without good cause while on workers’ comp, then get in touch with a lawyer. They will have a free consultation with you and review your case, and only take it on if they think they can win a settlement for you. You won’t pay anything unless they can get the settlement. Then, they will get a percentage from the settlement if they win one. You will know what percentage they’ll charge you beforehand. This is a win-win situation since you don’t have to put any money on the line.

What to Do If You Get Sick or Injured on the Job

 If you get injured or become sick either suddenly or over time at your place of employment, make sure you tell your employer as soon as you notice your symptoms. Alert them in writing and get a copy of it for your records. Then, go to the doctor as soon as possible and follow your doctor’s instructions. If you don’t keep up with your care, it could hurt your claim.

Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits in California

 The types of workers’ comp benefits you could be eligible for in California include:

  • Medical care
  • Temporary or permanent disability benefits
  • Supplemental job displacement benefits
  • Death benefits for your family/beneficiaries

Your employer’s workers’ comp insurance will first and foremost cover your medical care related to your illness or injury. If you have any other medical issues, you will still need to pay for them. The workers’ comp insurance will not pay for your family’s or dependents’ medical expenses, either.

Whether you are temporarily or permanently disabled, workers’ comp can help you cover your costs. You could receive temporary benefits if you are unable to return to work due to your injury or illness. Your benefits would cover, often to a significant extent, your loss of wages.

You could receive permanent disability benefits if you suffer from a more severe injury or illness as a result of your work. You will receive benefits every two weeks until you reach the maximum amount attributable to your level of disability or you receive a lump settlement.

Death benefits apply when someone is fatally injured while at work. Their family could receive death benefits for a certain amount of time or your attorney could negotiate a lump sum settlement. The employer’s workers’ comp insurance would pay for reasonable burial expenses as well.

Does My Employer Need to Have Workers’ Comp?

 California businesses that hire W-2 employees must have workers’ compensation insurance. Otherwise, they are in violation of the law. If your employer does not have it, and they offer to pay you cash to make your claim go away, see an attorney immediately.

If you are an independent contractor with a company and use a W-9, you are not technically an employee, and you will not receive workers’ comp if you get injured or sick. However, if you got injured on the job, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the company. You should consult with a personal injury lawyer for more information.

What to Look for in a Workers’ Comp or Personal Injury lawyer

 When you’re looking for a workers’ comp or personal injury lawyer, find one who has experience – as well as the case results to back up their work. Read up about cases they’ve worked on and take a look at their testimonials from satisfied clients. Your lawyer should give you a free consultation, answer any questions and address any concerns you have, as well as make you feel supported in your time of need. They should get back to you in a prompt manner as well.

Heiting & Irwin have worked on a number of workers’ comp and personal injury cases with great success, and they would be happy to hear about your case.

Get in Touch With Heiting & Irwin for Help

If you were injured at work and need to initiate a workers’ comp or personal injury case, then Heiting & Irwin can help you. We have dealt with many personal injury cases and will work hard to get you the settlement that you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 951-682-6400 to start your case now.

Mr. Serrano has been admitted to practice before California State and Federal Courts. He was named to the Super Lawyers’ 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Southern California Rising Stars List, an honor awarded to no more than 2.5% of attorneys in Southern California each year. View Attorney Jean-Simon Serrano's Attorney Bio Here.

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