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Can You File a Workers’ Comp Claim After Being Terminated?

On behalf of Brad Wicker of BDIW Law posted on Tuesday May 10, 2022.

Workers’ compensation rules can be tricky. What happens if you were injured on the job and then laid off?

When an employee is injured while performing their work duties, they can receive workers’ compensation benefits under Oklahoma law. But what if you suffer a workplace injury, inform your supervisor, and are subsequently terminated? Well, that is where things get a bit tricky.

You can file a workers’ compensation claim after being terminated, but whether your claim will be paid will ultimately depend on the circumstances involved. If you were terminated solely due to retaliation on behalf of your employer, that is illegal, and you should be paid the benefits you deserve.

Even if you were truly injured in the workplace before your termination, you will have some hurdles to overcome. Here are some things to consider as you consider filing a workers’ compensation claim against an employer for whom you no longer work.

You Will Need Proof

Filing a workers’ compensation claim after you are laid off looks suspicious to insurance companies. They may think that you are seeking revenge on your employer, so they will look for ways to deny your claim.

Therefore, you will need proof that you were injured on the job. If you notified your employer before you were terminated, that is a good start. If you see a doctor, make sure you have access to medical records showing the correlation between the accident and subsequent injuries.

Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney can also be helpful. They can help you understand what else needs to be done so you have strong evidence.

Reason for Termination

What was the reason for your termination? If you were engaging in something illegal or ineligible for workers’ compensation, you can still file a claim, but it will likely be denied. Here are common reasons for termination after a workplace injury:

  • You were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the accident occurred.
  • You were engaging in horseplay or another non-work-related activity, such as pranking other employees, at the time of the accident.
  • You suffered an injury outside of the workplace even though you were supposed to be at work.
  • You got injured while doing something illegal at work.

Were Deadlines Met?

If you are injured at work, you should notify your employer within 30 days of the accident, even if you think your injuries are minor. Injuries can appear days or months later. Insurance companies are more likely to deny your claim if you wait too long, as they will think you are not really injured. Make sure to comply with the deadlines or else you could lose the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits.

Contact Our Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today

If you meet Oklahoma guidelines, you can file a workers’ compensation claim after being terminated from your job. However, the burden will be on you to prove that your injuries happened while you were still employed.

The Oklahoma City workers’ compensation attorneys at Boettcher, Devinney, Ingle & Wicker will fight for your legal rights after a workplace injury. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (580) 765-9660 or filling out the online form.