What Happens to My Job If I Suffer a Workers Compensation Injury

posted by Scott Behren  |  Jun 4, 2010 8:30 PM [EST]  |  applies to Florida

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As many of you may know, a workers compensation injury is one where you have suffered an injury working on the job for your employer. Many employers carry workers compensation insurance to cover medical care and injuries caused by on the job accidents. Normally when you suffer these injuries you need to let your employer know as soon as possible so that they may complete the necessary claims forms to get your the medical care you need. It is also sometimes helpful to retain an attorney that specializes in workers compensation claims to guide you through the process. But, this article is really not intended to talk to you about this process.

Some of you may not know that an employer's workers compensation insurance premiums are a type of insurance called retrospective. In other words, the more claims and open claims an employer has, the higher their premiums go. So why should that matter to the employees? Well, on many occasions, employers don't want to continue to employ employees who have suffered workers compensation injuries for a number of reasons. First, their insurance premiums may increase. Second, they may not want to continue to employe an employee who has a higher chance of getting injured in the future. Third, they may not want to have to pay an employee for the time it takes to go to doctors appointments to care for their injuries.

On may occasions, the ultimate outcome is that employers try to find ways to terminate employees who have suffered workers compensation injuries. However, in Florida and most other states around the country there is a civil cause of action for workers compensation retaliation. In Florida, it is Florida Statutes Section 440.205 while other states have their own statutes. These types of statutes were created to protect employees who have suffered on the job injuries. Under these statutes, you can't be fired for making a workers compensation claim. While you can be fired for other legitimate reasons, the workers compensation claim can't be a motivating factor in the decision to terminate your employment. In addition, under the Florida statute, an employee can't be terminated for threatening to bring a workers compensation claim. An employee can also not be harassed as a result of a workers compensation claim. For instance, an employer may not refuse to abide by medical restrictions imposed by your doctor such as lifting restrictions. Under the Florida Statute, an employee who is terminated or harassed in violation of this statute may recover monetary damages against their employer including possible punitive damages.

So if you believe you have been terminated, harassed or retaliated against due to the filing of a workers compensation claim, you may want to consult with an attorney in your state to discuss your legal options.

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