how does workers' comp work

How Does Workers’ Comp Work?

When a worker becomes injured or ill while on the job, it is likely that they will have access to  workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation, or workers’ comp, is a type of employment insurance that grants benefits to employees who receive workplace injuries. So exactly how does workers’ comp work? The process of filing a workers’ compensation claim for a work-related injury or illness can be challenging, and receiving an appropriate settlement can be even more so.

The personal injury & workers’ compensation lawyers at Gordon & Gordon can help you navigate the legal process of workers’ comp and ensure that you get the best settlement you deserve. In this post, we’ll answer your questions like “How does workers’ comp work?” and more. If you still have additional workers’ comp questions, or want to learn more about the workers compensation disability rating chart, please feel free to reach out to the law firm of Gordon & Gordon today. 

Who is required to buy workers’ comp insurance?

Workers’ comp insurance covers nearly all workers employed in the U.S. today. The vast majority of non-military federal employees have workers’ compensation insurance under the Federal Employment Compensation Act (FECA). This federal law provides workers’ compensation insurance to nearly 90% of all American employees. 

There are some states that don’t require workers’ compensation in certain circumstances. For example, agricultural workers, seasonal employees, and independent contractors may not fall under workers’ comp coverage in certain states. 

In addition, every state has its own requirements for the minimum number of employees that must be working at a company for it to require workers’ comp. Some states require 4 or 5 employees to qualify, while others may only require 1. The state of Louisiana is one of these states. A company can have only 1 employee and need to offer workers’ compensation. 

Part of the regulations surrounding workers’ compensation is that an employer cannot terminate an employee while they are in the claim process for workers’ comp. Doing so may be an act of retaliation, which is against the law. The consequences of terminating an employee on workers’ comp can be severe. So in addition to most all employers needing workers’ comp insurance in place, they must also follow the laws that it carries.

Are all work related injuries covered by workers’ comp?

For the most part, all work-related injuries are, in fact, covered by workers’ compensation insurance. In addition to injuries, illnesses obtained on the job are covered as well. This means that in addition to sudden accidents such as a slip and fall head injury, workers’ comp also covers infectious diseases that may develop over time.

The determining factor does not depend on what type of injury it is, but rather if you can prove that it resulted from your work. If the injury or illness developed as a result of on-the-job exposure, it qualifies as a workers’ comp claim. This could include anything from a broken bone to black lung disease (exposure to coal dust). 

Do I have to be injured at my workplace to be covered by workers’ comp?

In order to receive workers’ comp, you have to be on the job. But what if part of your job is performing off-site duties? Then how does workers’ comp work?

Workers’ comp insurance intends to cover any and all accidents that occur within the “course and scope of your employment.” Therefore, if you were performing an activity that benefited your employer at the time of your accident or exposure, you should receive coverage. This includes injuries that occur off-site, but only if the injuries occurred while you were performing job duties. For example, working from home or taking a work call in the car would fall under workers’ comp coverage. Injuries or illnesses that occur during job-related training or education may also receive workers’ comp benefits. 

Traveling between two work sites or making job-related deliveries also calls for workers’ comp benefits. For example, if you are driving a vehicle for the purpose of benefiting your employer and you get into a car accident. This should be covered by workers’ comp. Workers’ compensation also covers those who may be injured or fall ill while doing business travel. This is whether they are off duty or not. 

In most states, even in the case that you have already clocked out but you still receive an injury while at the workplace, you will receive coverage. For example, say you clock out and are walking to your car in the parking lot when you slip and fall and receive a serious injury. Because it is still on the premises, it is a work-related injury. 

Do you get a settlement from workers’ comp?

When you file a workers’ compensation claim, you will receive benefits provided by your employer’s insurer. These benefits intend to cover the costs of medical treatment and lost wages that result from your work-related injury. Our Northwest Louisiana work accident lawyers will explain how a workers’ comp settlement actually works. 

First, the injured worker must bring a claim to his or her employer’s insurance provider. After this, the provider makes an initial settlement offer. The employee may either accept or reject this settlement offer. If they do not think the offer is acceptable, they are able to hire a lawyer and pursue a larger settlement. This can potentially result in a larger amount of compensation. It also poses the risk of attaining less than the initial offer.

After establishing what they believe to be a fair settlement with their lawyer, the employee and his or her attorney will present their number to the insurance provider. If both parties cannot reach a consensus, the case will reach the courts. Most states require the court to review this proposed settlement to ensure it is not in violation of any state laws. If it does not, the decision will then fall into their hands to determine what is a fair amount of compensation.  

Can I get workers’ comp if I get COVID-19 on the job?

Many people are not aware that illnesses fall under the category of personal injury in a workers’ comp claim. For example, if you contract COVID-19 while on the job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, your eligibility may depend on certain factors, such as your line of work and the laws of the state in which you live. Generally, to receive workers’ comp for COVID-19, you would need to meet a certain standard of proof. You must prove that your job presented a serious risk of exposure, beyond the risk for the general public. Further, you must prove that you contracted the virus while actually on the job.

Under Louisiana’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the injury or illness must cause a “violence to the physical structure of the body.” COVID-19 can cause violence to the body. Because of this, it qualifies under that circumstance. However, there are more factors that one must consider in the case of a coronavirus workers’ comp claim.

A claimant must be able to prove a causal connection between his or her COVID-19 diagnosis and their work activities. To do this, there must be evidence of the presence of other cases in the workplace. You must also take into account the incubation period between the time of exposure and when the symptoms actually manifest. Finally, one must consider the potential for exposure in other places aside from the workplace in the 14 days before the symptoms appeared. 

To answer the question, yes, with the proof of causal connection, you may receive workers’ comp for contracting COVID-19 while on the job. While the burden of proof may be higher than that of a physical injury, occupational diseases can still receive benefits through workers’ comp.

Call Ark-La-Tex Workers’ Comp Lawyers Gordon & Gordon Today

Gordon & Gordon Law Firm has been helping residents of Northwest Louisiana secure workers’ compensation settlements for over 30 years. Our legal experience will provide you with the tools you need to get the compensation you deserve. And remember, we don’t charge unless you get a settlement! Call us today at 318-716-HELP or visit our website to begin your journey towards compensation.

are workers compensation settlements taxable

Is Workers’ Comp Taxable?

If you receive injuries while on the job, workers’ compensation can be extremely beneficial for you. The benefits that you receive from workers’ comp insurance can help cover medical expenses, lost wages, and ongoing care costs. There are certain factors relating to your job, location, and injury that determine the amount of compensation you are able to receive under this claim. However, regardless of the amount, people often have several questions about their workers’ comp payout. Many people ask the question: Is workers’ comp taxable? Our Louisiana workers’ comp attorneys at Gordon & Gordon Law Firm will answer this question and more below. 

How is workmans’ comp taxed?

Say you have a valid workers’ comp case and Gordon & Gordon help you receive a large payout for your work-related injury or illness. After your case settles, you’re still left with a few questions. One of these is likely “Is workers’ comp taxable?”

The answer is, for the most part, no. Workers’ compensation, also known as workmans’ comp, is generally not considered taxable at neither the state nor federal level. Workers’ comp falls under the category of non-taxable income. For reference, other forms of non-taxable income include:

  • Compensatory (though not punitive) damages for personal injury or illness cases;
  • Compensation for permanent loss or loss of use of a body part or function;
  • Compensation for permanent disfigurement;
  • Payments from public welfare fund;
  • Disability benefits under a “no fault” car insurance policy for loss of income or earning capacity as a result of injuries.

For purposes of federal income tax, workmans’ comp awarded to an employee under a workers’ compensation statute due to work-related injury or illness are fully exempt. The same circumstances apply to survivors of an employee killed on the job. 

Exceptions to Tax-Exempt Status

There are a few exceptions where taxes might apply. This may occur if an individual also receives disability benefits through SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) or SSI (Supplemental Security Income). There are also cases where the Social Security Administration might reduce someone’s SSDI or SSI in order for the combined amount of workers’ comp and disability payments to remain below a certain threshold. The threshold prevents the amount from exceeding more than 80 percent of your previous earnings. This is commonly referred to as the workers’ compensation offset. 

For these cases, Social Security payments would become reduced and the difference created by the workers’ comp payment could become taxable. However, in many cases, this amount is small enough to be negligible for taxation purposes. 

Social Security will base the offset on the average of what you currently earn. This is typically the highest of the average wage per month of which your disability benefits get based off of. They will also take into account the average wage per month during your five best paid years and the average earnings of your highest paid year of the last five.

Will I get a 1099 for workers’ compensation?

A 1099 is a form that reports income of at least $600 to the IRS from various sources. This can include anything from self-employment earnings to interest and dividends to government payments. The IRS refers to the 1099 as “information returns” that tells them of any other types of income a person received other than their regular salary. 

The IRS uses a 1099 for tax purposes. Since workers’ compensation isn’t taxable (for the most part), you will not get a 1099 for workers’ comp. Likewise, you also don’t need to include your workers’ comp benefits on your tax return. 

If your employer did issue you a 1099, call a workers’ comp attorney to help sort out this issue as soon as possible. 

How is workers’ comp reported to IRS?

Because workers’ comp is exempt from state and federal taxes, you do not need to report it to the IRS. However, if you do return to work following a workers’ compensation claim to perform light, modified duties, the earnings you receive then will be taxable. You should report these payments as wages on Line 7 of Form 1040A or Line 1 of Form 1040EZ

If your disability pension provides benefits to employees only with service-related disabilities, part of that may be workers’ comp. This means that the part that falls under workers’ comp will also be exempt from taxes. The remainder of your pension will still be taxable as annuity income or pension.

Is workers’ comp counted as income?

While workmans’ comp is not eligible for taxation, it is still a form of income. Cash assistance, SSI, Medicaid, and other benefits are only granted to individuals with a low enough income. For the purpose of determining eligibility for these kinds of programs and benefits, workers’ comp will count as income. 

If you are currently on Medicaid and fear that a workers’ comp settlement would put you at risk for disqualification from this coverage, you may have another option. Consider putting your settlement from workers’ compensation in a Special Needs Trust. Doing so would allow a disabled individual to continue on Medicaid while still using the settlement funds for home, vehicle, and personal care expenses. 

Contact Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Gordon & Gordon Today

It is important that when filing a workers’ compensation claim, you have a knowledgeable attorney on your side to make sure everything is in order. Your attorney can help structure your settlement in a way that minimizes the workers’ comp offset and allows you to keep any other benefits you may already have. This, in turn, will also help minimize any taxes that you must pay, if any. 

The workers’ compensation system can be complex, especially when it comes to taxes and when they are or are not applicable. Attempting to navigate the legal system alone can end up costing you more in the long run. If you have any more questions like “Is workers’ comp taxable?” or if you need representation for your workers’ comp case, contact Gordon & Gordon today. Get them working on your case as soon as possible to ensure you receive the best possible settlement. To get in touch with our skilled Louisiana attorneys, call 318-716-HELP or fill out our online intake form here

Can You Still Receive Workers Comp If You Fail A Drug Test?

Can You Still Receive Workers Comp If You Fail A Drug Test?

Employees who receive an injury while on the job are legally entitled to workers compensation, or workers comp for short. This is a type of insurance set in place to protect both employees and their employers in the event that a workplace accident or injury occurs. Workers compensation provides promised benefits and compensation to all workers without the need to prove fault. However, issues may arise if your employer can prove that your use of drugs was the cause for the accident or injury. To do so, they may issue a workers comp drug test.

It is generally harder to prove that drugs played a direct role in the accident than it is to file a no-fault workers comp claim. If your employer pursues this defense, though, it is possible that a positive drug test will affect your collection of benefits and compensation. That is why it is important to have an experienced workers compensation attorney working to ensure you receive what is rightfully yours. At Gordon & Gordon Law Firm, we help residents all across the Ark-La-Tex get the workers comp payout they deserve. Here, we will attempt to answer all your workers compensation questions as they pertain to drug testing. If you have any further questions, give us a call today at 318-716-HELP. 

Is a drug test required for workers comp?

If you become injured while on the job, you do not need to provide proof. This is because the workers compensation system is one of no-fault. There are no states in the U.S. that have laws requiring employers to drug test their workers after an accident. However, there is also no state that prohibits it. Instead, it is up to the discretion of the employer whether or not they want to administer a workers comp drug test following a workplace accident.

There is often the possibility that the employer doesn’t want to pay or wait for a test to come back, so they’ll disregard it altogether. However, if they suspect that drugs were the cause of the accident, it is possible that they would want to request a screening. 

Even in the case that an employer requests a drug test from their employer and they fail, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will play into the case. It is up to the presiding judge to determine if the presence of drugs will be a factor in the consideration of the workers comp case.

What happens when you fail a drug test for workers comp?

If you fail a drug test after a workplace injury, you are not automatically disqualified from receiving workers compensation. According to the Workers Compensation Law, only injuries that were a direct result of the drug use or intoxication can eliminate the potential for workers comp. So in the case that you get into a work accident while on drugs or having alcohol in your system, if those aspects were not the cause for the accident, the injury is still compensable.

For example, let’s say you are working on a piece of machinery at work that is defective. You have drugs in your system and an accident occurs where you become injured. Sure, if you were sober at the time the accident might not have ever occurred. But the presence of drugs in your system wasn’t what caused the accident, the defective machinery was. Therefore, your claim for workers compensation remains valid. 

How long does workers comp have to drug test?

If your employer does wish to do a drug screening following a workplace accident, it is in their best interest to have it done as soon as possible. This is because there is a different window of detection for substances depending on their type and how much is in your system. 

The rule of thumb for administering a drug test is within 12 hours after the accident has occurred. Waiting longer can lessen the accuracy of the results by a significant amount. 

Can I get fired after failing a drug test?

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) forbids employers from retaliating against reporters of a work-related illness or injury. The law prohibits employers from acting out against their employees who’ve filed a workers compensation claim. Under the protection of this act, retaliation, including discrimination and termination, is illegal.

This doesn’t mean that you’re completely safe from termination after a failed drug test. Employers and entire industries have the right to establish and maintain a drug-free workplace. If you do happen to fail a drug test, your employer still has the ability to fire you. If they fire you right after an accident occurs, you may have a case for workers compensation retaliation. They simply can’t fire you assuming they won’t have to respect your claim and pay you the compensation you deserve.

Do I have to take a drug test if I get hurt at work?

The OSHA makes it illegal for employers to use drug testing to discourage employees from filing a claim. Thus, having a policy that requires automatic drug testing following an accident is a violation of this act. However, an employer may still conduct drug tests at their own discretion for other reasons. This may be part of a new hire background check, random or scheduled company-wide testing, or reasonable suspicion.

If you’re involved in an accident at a work site, this is not reason enough for your employer to subject you to a drug test. There must be an “objectively reasonable basis” to conduct a screening. This means that only if there is a strong reason to believe that the use of drugs or narcotics directly contributed to the accident can an employer require a test. 

Forcing a drug test on an employee without reasonable suspicion may be a form of workers compensation retaliation. If you feel that your boss is unlawfully issuing you a drug test following an accident, you need to hire a workers compensation attorney ASAP. 

Contact Gordon & Gordon, Shreveport Workers Compensation Lawyers

Though workers compensation is a no-fault system, a failed drug test could result in employers and their insurers attempting to deny your claim and benefits. To be sure this doesn’t happen, you need skilled workers compensation lawyers Gordon & Gordon on top of your case. It can be both painful and upsetting to receive an injury that prevents you from working. Don’t let it cost you more than it needs to. At Gordon & Gordon, we don’t charge any lawyer fees unless we are able to get you a settlement. Call our offices today at 318-716-HELP or visit our website and leave us a message regarding your case here

Head Injury Compensation Claim_Gordon&Gordon

Head Injury Compensation Claim

An injury to the head could lead to devastating results. A head injury has the ability to end a life or alter it forever. It is a traumatic event that no one wants to experience, especially due to another’s negligent behavior. Recovering from a head injury can be long and painful. Not to mention, it can be very expensive. If you received one of these injuries, you’re entitled to a head injury compensation claim. 

Gordon & Gordon Law Firm understands the stress and worry a head injury can place on you and your family. While you recover physically, we want to help you recover compensation for your losses and damages. We’ll answer your questions and tell you the next steps to take after receiving a head injury.

WHAT IS HEAD INJURY?

Head injuries are any type of injury sustained to your skull, scalp, face, or brain. These injuries can vary in severity from a bump or bruise to fatal brain trauma. Just as the severity of these injuries can vary, so can the treatments needed to recover. 

The brain is one of the most vital organs, which makes the head a very delicate region. Damage to the brain can alter a person’s body and life forever. Permanent impairment is not uncommon following a severe head injury. Read more in our blog about the maximum medical improvement rating chart.

There are many different types of head injury. Injuries of the more severe cases include:

  • Concussions
    • Occurs when the brain hit against the walls of the skull due to some kind of hard impact.
  • Edema
    • Swelling of the brain. Because your head can’t stretch to accommodate the swelling, the brain presses against the bones of the skull.
  • Intracerebral Hemorrhage
    • Uncontrollable bleeding within the tissue of the brain.
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
    • Uncontrollable bleeding in the space surrounding the brain and skull.
  • Hematoma
    • A hematoma is the clotting of blood outside the vessels. A hematoma in the brain can build up pressure in your skull and cause serious and permanent damage.
  • Skull Fracture
    • Any break in the cranial bone is a skull fracture. Swelling, tenderness, bruising, or bleeding from the nostrils or ears can be a sign of a skull fracture.
  • Shear Injury
    • A shear injury, also known as diffuse axonal injury, damages brain cells and prohibits brain function. This type of injury is not visible but can be very dangerous and can result in permanent brain damage or death.

WHAT ARE COMMON CAUSES OF HEAD INJURY?

There are many ways people receive head injuries. Any kind of sharp force or impact to the head can cause a serious injury. Excessive shaking can also cause a head injury, though this occurs the most in children or babies.

A large sum of head injuries come as a result of a car accident. Even from the less serious accidents, the force of impact can cause painful injuries. This might include slamming your head into the steering wheel or whiplash from the crash.

Trips, slips, and falls are another common cause of head injury. In fact, over a million people in the United States suffer severe injuries from slip and fall accidents each year. 

Sports-related incidents account for several head injuries every day. Sports like football, gymnastics, and baseball all produce a large number of these types of injuries. 

Another common cause of head injury comes from assault and violent attacks. In Shreveport alone, nearly 1,600 violent attacks occur per year.

Among all the different causes of head injury, there are two separate categories they fall into. These are open and closed head injuries. An open head injury occurs when something pierces your scalp and breaks through your skull. This usually means that it also penetrated the brain. Closed head injuries are much more common and leave the skull intact. These are sometimes referred to as blunt or nonpenetrating head traumas. This could include contusions or brain bleeds.

Whether the injury is a closed wound or is penetrating, it’s difficult to determine how serious it is just by looking. If you’ve experienced any kind of head trauma, you should seek medical treatment immediately to have a doctor assess your injuries.

WHAT ARE SOME SYMPTOMS OF HEAD INJURY?

There are several symptoms that suggest a head injury. Some symptoms might be immediate, while others have a delayed reaction. It is important that as soon as you experience any sort of head trauma to seek medical attention. That way, the doctor can rule out any severe damage and give you a proper diagnosis. 

Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some of these may include:

  • Bruising or swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Disorientation
  • Amnesia
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness or blurred vision
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fainting episodes
  • Seizure

There are many more symptoms that indicate a head or brain injury. Physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, and behavioral symptoms may occur. If you experience any of these symptoms or otherwise notice a change in your mood or body, seek professional care.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET A HEAD INJURY AT WORK?

Over 24% of head injuries occur in the workplace. The majority of these workplace injuries are the result of something or someone falling. Falling objects, falling from heights, or slips and falls. It can also occur from car accidents experienced while on the clock.

If you suffer a head injury at work, you will need to file a workers compensation claim. Any employee who receives a head injury on the job is eligible for benefits. 

In some cases, you might be eligible for more than workers compensation. There may be other parties involved who contributed to your head injury. This could be a property owner, a manufacturer, a contractor, or another third-party entity that played a part in your injury. In this case, you’ll want to file a third-party claim with the help of an experienced attorney.

Immediately following any workplace incident, you should seek medical attention. This is especially true if the injury relates to your head or brain. Make sure your doctor knows the injury happened on the job. You will want to save any medical records or documentation as proof of your injury. Otherwise, insurance companies might try to deny your claim altogether.

HOW MUCH CAN I GET FROM MY HEAD INJURY COMPENSATION CLAIM?

Head injury compensation claims generally have a high payout. This is because the head is such a sensitive and important region. Damage to the head or brain could alter someone’s life significantly. In the case that you experience a head injury at the hands of someone else, you should file a compensation claim.

To do this, you will need the help of an attorney. An experienced attorney is one of the most important factors in determining how much you are able to gain in a settlement or lawsuit.

Another factor that plays into the amount of compensation you’re able to get is the losses you experienced as a result of the injury. Any lost earnings or loss of possible future income are some of these. Other losses include any medical expenses or property damage that occurred. 

If you need extensive, ongoing medical treatment after the incident, your attorney will work to cover those damages as well.

Any pain or suffering that you may have experienced (or still are) is also observed. Though it cannot quantify as a number amount, the judge will use this as a multiplier. Your compensation amount could multiply by two, three, or even more. Depending, of course, on how well your attorney can convince the court of the pain and suffering.

There is no set compensation rate for head injury. Every circumstance is different just as every courtroom is different. Your payout may range anywhere from thousands to millions. The more experienced your lawyer is and how well they represent you can be the difference between 5, 6, or even 7 figures. 

CALL GORDON & GORDON TODAY

If you suffered a head injury at the hands of another person, call our law offices today. Gordon & Gordon Law Firm has been helping residents of Northwest Louisiana for over 30 years. Our legal experience provides us with the tools you need to get the compensation you deserve. We won’t even charge you unless you get a settlement. Call us today at 318-716-HELP or visit our website to begin your journey towards compensation.

WORK ACCIDENTS LAWYERS

Work Accidents Lawyers

Each day, millions of Americans leave their homes for work. When they arrive, they have the right to operate within a safe environment free of unnecessary hazards.  Despite the regulations and best intentions of employers, workplace accidents are still common. According to the most recent report for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were roughly 2.8 million non-fatal work accidents in the United States. Out of these work accidents, employees spent a median number of 8 days away from work for recovery.

Regardless of the severity of any work-related injury, employees are entitled to receive the appropriate care and compensation.  This is typically covered in some form by workers’ compensation insurance. There are occasions where workers’ compensation falls short and does not cover the full extent of lost wages or earning potential. In those cases, the pursuit of a claim against the responsible negligent party may be appropriate. Work accidents lawyers are invaluable in these cases.

What are some common causes of work accidents?

Common causes for injury within the workplace, the three most common types of injuries are sprains/strains/tears, soreness/pain, or cuts/lacerations. While these types of injuries can initially appear minor, there are instances where symptoms do not develop immediately and instead show reason for concern at a later date. Most commonly, workplace injuries occur within the construction, manufacturing, transportation, maintenance, and service industries.

Work accidents can happen for any number of reasons, but typically the causes trace back in some way to:

  • Inadequate training
  • insufficient staffing
  • improper or insufficient safety gear
  • Poorly maintained equipment or machinery
  • OSHA violations
  • Falling objects
  • Chemical or hazardous material exposure

What are my rights if I get injured at work?

You have a legal right to file a workers compensation claim with your employer whenever injured on the job. This also depends on if they are carrying workers’ compensation insurance, which most employers in high-risk industries do. In addition to the workers’ compensation claim, you have the right to file a work accident or injury lawsuit against someone involved with your injury, such as the business owner, contractor, or another employee.

Who is at fault for a workplace injury?

There are several factors that go into determining who is ultimately at fault for a workplace injury, but prior to any incident your employer has a duty of care to foster a safe environment for you to carry out the required duties of your job. Often when an employer is negligent in providing a safe environment through subpar hiring practices, poor training, inadequate training, they can be found at fault for the resulting injuries following their negligence.

Who is liable for work accidents?

When determining the party at fault for a workplace injury or workplace accident, many factors can be at play.  The employers themselves can be the responsible party.  A third-party designer or manufacturer may share the blame for the accident. Even another person faces liability if shown to have exercised negligence leading to the injury. In these cases, a third-party claim is filed outside of the normal workers’ compensation arena and instead settled in civil courts on the state or federal level. 

What should I do if I get injured at work?

If you are in the unfortunate situation of experiencing an injury while on the job, you should stop working immediately and report the injury to a supervisor.  You may also need to seek medical treatment based on the accident or injury. You are not under any obligation to give a formal written statement to your employer without first speaking with a work accidents lawyer.

Once you are able, you should document the events surrounding the accident in as much detail as possible. A strong written account of the event while it is still fresh can be beneficial during any future claims or litigation. Taking pictures of the worksite and any relevant surroundings is also a good idea. You want to help paint the clearest picture possible. It is important to find any information pointing to the root cause of the injury and determine who is ultimately at fault for the injury.

How long do I have to report a workplace injury?

In the state of Louisiana, you have a statute of limitations of one year to file a workers’ compensation claim.  You must report the initial workp[lace accident or injury to your employer immediately.

Do I have to see a doctor that my employer chooses?

Your employer has the right to designate a physician for you after your workplace injury.

When should I hire a work accidents lawyer?

Utilizing the expertise of an experienced workplace accident attorney can prove to be critical in protecting your worker’s rights. Obtaining quality representation at the outset of the process is an excellent first step in protecting your best interests. The attorneys at Gordon and Gordon are here to help you ensure that the compensation for your injuries is fair.

Do I have to leave my job if I hire a workplace accident lawyer?

You are under no legal obligation to leave your place of employment.  

How much does a workplace accident lawyer cost?

While the cost of litigation depends on many factors, hiring a skilled work accidents lawyer should not cost you anything.  At Gordon and Gordon, workers’ compensation and injury claims are taken on a contingency fee basis.

Will hiring an work accidents lawyer affect my workers’ compensation benefits?

It is possible you are required to pay some of your workers’ compensation benefits back if you receive a settlement.  Any settlement could also affect your SSD benefits.  This is something to discuss with the attorneys at Gordon and Gordon.

Contact Gordon and Gordon today if you or someone you know has suffered a workplace injury

If you or someone you know has been the victim of an injury or accident within the workplace, please contact the work accidents lawyers at Gordon and Gordon. Call us at 318-716-HELP or send us an email.  Our firm accepts inquiries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Questions to Ask Worker’s Comp Lawyer

25 Questions to Ask Worker’s Comp Lawyer

When an employee has sustained an injury at work, often they find themselves mired in the endless bureaucracy of worker’s compensation. The process can be complicated, and many workers might be reluctant to push too hard for compensation. We’ve compiled a list of questions to ask worker’s comp lawyer from the start.

For these reasons, you should speak with a worker’s comp lawyer as soon as possible after sustaining an injury. A worker’s comp attorney can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve, and also help you if something goes wrong with your claim. 

However, knowing what to discuss with your lawyer can be difficult. In this post, worker’s comp attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will give you possible questions to ask worker’s comp lawyers.

To begin with, there are a few categories you should ask the worker’s comp attorney about. You should ask about:

  • The lawyer’s practice
  • Your worker’s comp claim
  • Filing a claim outside of worker’s comp
  • The claims process
  • Your next steps

We’re going to talk about five possible questions to ask worker’s comp lawyers in each of the five categories.

5 Questions to Ask Worker’s Comp Lawyer About His or Her Practice

These are five questions to ask worker’s comp lawyers about their practice.

Do You Handle Work Injury Claims?

Obviously, you need to know if they handle your type of case. In addition, you need to make sure they have significant experience with work injury claims. After all, your health and long-term well-being is on the line. 

How Many Work Injury Claims Have You Handled?

Again, you need to know exactly how much experience an attorney has with your type of claim. 

Remember that it is possible the lawyer will not have an exact count. That’s definitely okay. What you need to know is if the lawyer has enough experience to be intimately familiar with work injury claims. 

What is Your Success Rate in Worker’s Compensation?

Your lawyer will probably not be able to provide an exact number of worker’s comp cases they’ve handled. But providing you with their success rate in worker’s comp cases should be easy enough. This rate should be very high, ideally 90 percent or so.

Will I Work Directly With You During My Case?

Many work injury law firms have teams of paralegals and case managers who handle most of the work on a case. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you still want to be able to talk to your attorney when you have questions.

How Often Do You Take Cases to a Hearing or Trial?

If you have a worker’s comp claim, your goal is to settle. However, you do want to be sure your attorney is ready to go to court if necessary. 

5 Questions to Ask Worker’s Comp Lawyers About Your Claim 

Here are five questions to ask worker’s comp lawyers about your specific claim.

Do I Qualify for Worker’s Compensation Benefits?

This might seem obvious, but it’s always best to be sure. There are some pretty tight deadlines associated with worker’s comp that your lawyer can help you be aware of.

Do I Qualify for Medical and Disability Benefits, or Just Medical?

In most states, you need to miss a certain number of workdays before you file for disability. But even if you don’t miss a lot of work, you may still qualify for medical benefits.

Can I Sue My Employer? (Or, Do I Have to Sue My Employer?)

Filing for worker’s comp does not involve a lawsuit. But if you can’t file a worker’s comp claim, a lawsuit maybe your best option.

How Long Do I Have to File My Worker’s Comp Claim?

In Louisiana, you have one year to file a worker’s comp claim. But you must report the injury to your employer immediately after it occurs.

Are You Required to See an Approved Doctor (or “Company Doctor”)?

Yes. Your employer can choose the doctor you see after your injury.

5 Questions to Ask Worker’s Comp Lawyers About Filing a Claim Outside of Worker’s Comp

Do I Have A Personal Injury Claim?

Outside of your worker’s comp claim, you may also have a personal injury claim against a third party. 

Who is Liable for the Costs of My Work Injury?

If not your employer, there are a multitude of people who may be responsible for your work injury. There may be a third party contractor or coworker who is liable. 

What Damages Am I Entitled to Recover For My Work Injury?

Worker’s compensation covers medical expenses and some of your lost wages. Personal injury claims include damages for all your injury-related costs, including pain and suffering.

Am I Entitled to Social Security Disability or Social Security Retirement Benefits?

Possibly. This depends on the specifics of your case. 

Will Filing A Personal Injury or Social Security Claim Impact My Worker’s Comp Benefits?

If you receive a personal injury settlement, you may have to pay back some of your worker’s comp benefits. Your worker’s comp benefits may impact your SSD eligibility. This is definitely an important issue to talk over with our attorneys at Gordon & Gordon.

5 Questions to Ask Worker’s Comp Lawyers About the Process

These are 5 questions to ask worker’s comp lawyers about the process.

How Long Will It Take to Recover Benefits and/or Just Compensation?

There’s no way to know definitively. But at Gordon & Gordon, we can provide you with general timelines.

How Will I Know When To Settle My Claim?

There’s no right time to settle. Our attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will have the knowledge to determine when it’s best to settle your case.

Should I Accept A Lump Sum Workers’ Comp Settlement?

In many cases, yes. But in some cases, no. If you have an SSD claim, for instance, receiving a large lump sum could impact your eligibility. 

What Should I Do While My Case is Pending?

Our attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will provide you with instructions on what to do while waiting on your case.

What Shouldn’t I Do While My Case Is Pending?

Similarly, we will be sure to tell you what to avoid. 

5 Questions To Ask Worker’s Comp Lawyers About Your Next Steps

Read on for five questions to ask worker’s comp lawyers about your next steps.

How Much Will It Cost To Hire You?

It should cost you nothing to hire a work injury lawyer. At Gordon & Gordon, we work on a contingency fee basis.

Will You Deal With My Employer and Their Insurance Company Directly?

Some parts of the case will still involve you. However, your lawyer should handle most of the communication with your employer and their insurance company. At Gordon & Gordon, we handle the bulk of this communication.

How Can I Contact You If I Have Questions?

We have 24/7 hour availability at Gordon & Gordon. Your lawyer should have something similar, or give you some quick method of contacting them.

What Information Do You Need From Me?

With a good lawyer, you will not need to ask. They will tell you what they need from you. 

What Should I Do Now?

An experienced worker’s comp lawyer like our attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will have this information readily available. 

Contact Gordon & Gordon With Questions For Worker’s Comp Lawyers

The worker’s comp process can be stressful and exhausting. If you need help with worker’s compensation in Northwest Louisiana, contact our team at Gordon & Gordon by calling 318.716.HELP. You can also leave us a message on our website.

AVERAGE WORKERS COMP SETTLEMENT FOR BACK INJURY

Average Workers Comp Settlement for Back Injury Claims

Do you know what the average workers comp settlement for back injury is?

Back injuries are some of the most common work injuries, especially for jobs with high volumes of manual labor. We get a lot of questions about the average workers comp settlement for back injury claims.

If you have a back injury in Louisiana, the average workers comp settlement for back injury claims is probably only one in a long list of questions. Back injuries can be devastating, especially if they permanently affect your ability to work. 

Getting a worker’s comp attorney as soon as possible is crucial. In this post, worker’s comp attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will talk about the average workers comp settlement for back injury. We’ll answer some questions about back injury claims, and how a worker’s comp attorney can help.

What is a Worker’s Comp Settlement?

Some people can be confused on exactly what it means to accept a lump sum settlement in a worker’s comp claim. 

The idea behind worker’s comp is that you would not have sustained the injury without being in the course of your duties at work. Because of this, your employer’s worker’s comp insurance will help you support yourself and your family while you are out with your injury. 

With many worker’s comp claims, your employer’s worker’s comp insurance will pay you a weekly amount until you’re ready to return to work in some capacity. This amount will help cover your medical expenses and lost wages.

That’s simplifying it quite a lot; things can become complicated when worker’s injuries are very severe. Things can also become complicated if the worker can return to work, but must transition to a different job that pays less, or with fewer hours. 

When you accept a lump sum settlement, you accept a single, large payment rather than multiple smaller weekly payments. 

Insurance companies may offer this option if they think they will pay out less in a single lump sum now rather than continuing weekly payments. After all, it is an insurance companies job to take in more money in premiums than they pay out in claims. 

It’s always best to consult with an attorney before accepting a settlement to ensure it is what’s best for your situation.  

What is the Average Workers Comp Settlement For Back Injury Claims?

The first thing you should know about the average workers comp settlement for back injury claims is that there isn’t a specific number, in any case. Every case and every claim is going to be different. 

Settlements depend on a few different factors. Like we mentioned earlier, insurance companies are businesses just like anything else. It is their job to take in more money than they are putting out. An insurance company will evaluate your claim, and if they believe that paying you a certain amount of money now will save them more money in the long run, they will offer a settlement. 

This is why it’s so important to consult with a worker’s comp attorney who can help you negotiate your settlement. 

In the end, offering and accepting a worker’s comp settlement is a financial decision on both ends. It has to make sense for both the insurance company and for the employee in question. 

Below, we’ll talk about a few things you should consider when evaluating the settlement the insurance company is offering you. 

What Should I Consider Before Accepting a Workers Comp Settlement?

Back injuries can be very serious, and can affect us for the rest of our lives. There is no average workers comp settlement for back injury claims, so it’s difficult to give you a threshold at which you should or shouldn’t accept a claim.

What we can tell you are the things you should be sure to consider when you are evaluating a settlement. 

First of all, you should consider future medical treatments. Medical treatments could include physical therapy, injections, and prescription medications. Some workers with back injuries may need surgery like a discectomy or spinal fusion. These treatments aren’t cheap. You should consider whether you think you will need these treatments when you’re looking at a possible settlement. 

You should also think about the wage loss. Wage loss benefits encompass 80% of an employee’s after-tax weekly wage. Insurance companies will pay weekly checks indefinitely, but they can offset this amount starting at age 65. Think about what your weekly wage loss check will be for the duration of your recovery, and make sure the settlement you accept takes care of your wage losses. 

Watch out for IME Doctors 

There is no average workers comp settlement for back injury claims, but there are plenty of ways you may possibly get less than you deserve.

When you sustain an injury at work in Louisiana, your employer’s insurance company gets to pick the doctor you see. This is an independent medical exam, or IME doctor. 

Some IME doctors may tell you that your back injuries are merely the result of aging. This is especially true if your diagnosis is a herniated disc, disc protrusion, or a pinched nerve. 

It’s also important to remember that preexisting conditions are not a basis for a dispute. Just because you had back trouble before the work injury doesn’t mean the work injury did not contribute to your inability to work. If the work injury changes your underlying pathology, you are eligible for a workers comp settlement. 

How Do I Maximize Settlement Value?

Though there is still no average workers comp settlement for back injury claims, there are things you can do maximize your settlement value. 

An experienced attorney can maximize the value of a settlement by using medical opinions to prove how long the employee will be unable to work. 

Contact Gordon & Gordon

If you have questions about the average workers comp settlement for back injury claims, call Gordon & Gordon at 318.716.HELP. Our experienced attorneys can walk you through the entire process of your claim, and help ensure you get the benefits you deserve. You can also leave us a message on our website.

WORKERS COMPENSATION RETALIATION

Worker’s Comp Retaliation

When they sustain an injury on the job, many workers may worry about worker’s compensation retaliation.

But what is worker’s comp retaliation? Is there any legal recourse when you experience it?

When you are applying for worker’s compensation, the best course of action is to simply know your rights as a worker. In this post, worker’s compensation attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will try to answer all your questions about worker’s comp retaliation. We will talk about situations where workers may apply for worker’s comp, as well as what to do if you believe you are experiencing worker’s comp retaliation. 

What is Workers Compensation?

Before we delve too much into worker’s compensation retaliation, let’s have a quick refresher course on exactly what worker’s compensation is.

Put simply, a worker may apply for worker’s compensation when they sustain an injury on the job. This money can help the worker pay their bills until they can return to their job. The amount of money the worker receives will vary depending on the type of injury and its extent. 

The state of Louisiana requires nearly all employers to carry worker’s compensation insurance. This insurance policy pays out money to the workers who sustain injuries on the job. 

However, many employers will do whatever they can to avoid claims on their worker’s comp insurance. Thus, the process for applying for worker’s comp can be fraught with complications. One of the biggest complications workers fear when applying for worker’s comp is worker’s compensation retaliation.

What is Worker’s Compensation Retaliation?

Retaliation is when an employer punishes an employee for engaging in a protected activity.

Worker’s comp retaliation occurs when an employer punishes a worker for applying for worker’s comp. Sometimes, retaliation can occur when an employee even attempts to file a worker’s compensation claim. 

The most common and concerning form of retaliation is termination. But worker’s comp retaliation can take other forms: a demotion, a pay cut, or unwarranted discipline may qualify. However, these are much more difficult to prove. The vast majority of worker’s compensation retaliation claims in Louisiana involve wrongful termination. 

In Louisiana, the law prohibits employers from firing an employee for filing a worker’s compensation claim. State law guarantees the rights of injured workers to medical care and lost wages. 

Louisiana law also prohibits employers from denying employment to someone because they have made a worker’s compensation claim in the past. 

How Do I Prove Worker’s Compensation Retaliation?

If you suspect an employer is engaging in worker’s compensation retaliation, you can take them to court. If you win, you can recover whatever amount of money the employer would have paid you, if not for the retaliation. The court will determine this amount from the job’s one-year salary, plus any reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs. 

However, proving a worker’s comp retaliation claim isn’t always easy. If the court decides a worker’s claim is purposely frivolous or false, there could be consequences. The court could hold a worker responsible for damages to the employer. 

Workers in Louisiana must bring their worker’s comp retaliation claims in a district court, not a worker’s compensation court. This is because worker’s comp retaliation claims that involve termination fall under Louisiana’s wrongful termination laws. 

What Do I Need to Prove in Court?

In order to win a worker’s compensation retaliation claim, you have to prove that your employer took unfair action against you due to your worker’s compensation claim. The employee must present either:

  • Direct evidence that the assertion of the worker’s compensation claim was the reason for the termination; or
  • Circumstantial evidence that is sufficient to establish more probably than not that the reason for the discharge was the assertion of the worker’s compensation claim

There is a statute of limitations for worker’s comp retaliation. An employee must file a lawsuit within a year of the retaliatory action, or they cannot file a lawsuit at all. 

Can My Employer Fire Me Because I’m Receiving Worker’s Comp?

As we mentioned earlier, no. Your employer cannot fire you because you are receiving worker’s comp. 

That does not mean your employer cannot fire you while you are receiving worker’s comp. Sustaining an injury at work, unfortunately, does not protect you from termination. If, for example, your company goes through a round of layoffs while you are on worker’s compensation, your employer can lay you off or terminate you. As long as they don’t fire you because you are on worker’s compensation, it may not be worker’s compensation retaliation in the court’s eyes.

In addition, Louisiana does not prohibit employers from terminating employees who can no longer perform their job functions. If a physician finds that a worker can no longer perform their job functions due to their injury, an employer can fire that employee. 

What Are Valid Reasons for Termination in Louisiana Worker’s Compensation?

There are valid reasons for an employer to terminate an employee on worker’s compensation. We’ve already talked about a few of them: if the employee cannot perform their job functions due to the injury, there is no wrongful termination. 

Remember, if a court believes your wrongful termination suit is purposely frivolous, there could be monetary consequences.

In addition to the inability to perform job functions, an employer may provide other valid reasons for terminating an employee. If an employer can prove any of these, a worker is unlikely to win their claim. Some valid reasons for termination include:

  • The employee has failed to complete their job duties before the injury 
  • The employee demonstrated poor performance before the injury
  • The employer is terminating a contract employee for reasons related to the contract
  • The employee is part of a labor union, and the reason for termination is in the union’s collective bargaining agreement 
  • Violation of company policy 
  • Failing a drug test or other criminal activity 
  • The employer needs to cut down the number of employees for financial reasons

Contact Gordon & Gordon

It is always confusing and upsetting to sustain an injury that prevents you from working. It is even more so if your employer terminates you during this period.If you believe you may be suffering worker’s comp retaliation in Northwest Louisiana, contact Gordon & Gordon by calling 318.716.HELP. You can also leave us a message on our website.

What Behaviors Are Considered Criteria for a Hostile Work Environment

What Behaviors Are Considered Criteria for a Hostile Work Environment?

Do you know what behaviors are considered criteria for a hostile work environment?

Hostile work environment claims fall under workplace discrimination laws. These laws can be vague and subjective. They can be difficult to understand and interpret. Employees may not understand exactly what behaviors are considered criteria for a hostile work environment. Some employees may think they are overreacting, and are not really the victims of a hostile work environment.

In this post, our experienced workplace attorneys at Gordon & Gordon will try to de-mystify what behaviors are considered criteria for a hostile work environment. We will also discuss possible remedies and ramifications for employers who create hostile work environments. 

What is a Hostile Work Environment?

The state of Louisiana protects employees from discrimination based on sex, race, gender, national origin, religion, and disability. 

Unfortunately, some employers still engage in illegal discrimination when making business decisions. Some employers may also foster an environment where illegal harassment is common.

A work environment becomes hostile when discrimination or harassment becomes so intolerable it affects the terms and conditions of employment. Usually, this means that any reasonable employee would quit their job.

There are several criteria that make a work environment hostile:

What Behaviors Are Considered Criteria For A Hostile Work Environment: Discrimination 

An employer being rude or inconsiderate to an employee does not constitute a hostile work environment. Just because behavior is hostile does not mean it is a hostile work environment in the eyes of the law. 

The employee must prove that hostile behavior is due to their race, sex, gender, national origin, religion, or disability.

For instance, an employer calling their employee incompetent is not a hostile work environment.

However, if an employer calls the employee a racial slur, that is discrimination and may constitute a hostile work environment.

A further demonstration of the discrimination rule: imagine a man whose company has demoted him. This man happens to be a member of a minority race. This man also believes the demotion was unfair.

Even if the demotion was unfair, it does not mean there is a hostile work environment. The man must prove that the demotion occurred specifically because of his racial identity.

Discrimination definitely includes sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is the most common basis for a hostile work environment. Vulgar or inappropriate comments qualify as gender-based discrimination.

What Behaviors Are Considered Criteria For A Hostile Work Environment: The Reasonable Person Rule

We mentioned the hypothetical reasonable person above. To qualify as a hostile work environment, this hypothetical reasonable person would find the behavior at the workplace abusive or hostile.

This means that if the average person would not be offended by the behavior, it will probably not qualify as a hostile work environment. 

For example, most people are not offended by men talking about sports. But say that a woman in an office feels her male coworkers are discriminating against her by talking about sports. If their sports talk is her only evidence of gender-based discrimination, that will likely not hold up in court. This is because the average person would not be offended by the talk of sports.

What Behaviors Are Considered Criteria For A Hostile Work Environment: The Behavior is Pervasive

The behavior in question must be continuous and long-lasting. It must become a condition of employment. This means that in order to go about your normal day at work, you must put up with this hostile behavior.

For the most part, single instances of offensive behavior don’t qualify as a hostile work environment. If your coworker makes one racially-charged or offensive joke towards you, that is not a hostile work environment. However, if the coworker makes these racially-charged remarks every time they see you for months on end, that may constitute a hostile work environment. 

However, even if certain behaviors do not make a work environment hostile, they may still be illegal. Sexual harassment, for instance, is illegal whether or not there is a hostile work environment.

What Behaviors Are Considered Criteria For A Hostile Work Environment: No Investigation

The person who is discriminating against or harassing you does not have to be your boss. We will talk more about that farther down. 

When you are experiencing a hostile work environment, your first complaint should be to your supervisor, if they are not the one committing the offense. To have a viable hostile work environment claim, you must give your employer a chance to remedy the situation. If you have reported the harassment or discrimination and your employer does not investigate or remedy it, you may have a viable claim. Your employer is now complicit in the offensive behavior.

For example, imagine your coworker is making racist statements at work. You cannot make a hostile work environment claim if you do not report this behavior to your supervisor. You must give your supervisor the chance to investigate and discipline your coworker before you involve the courts.

Even if you feel certain your supervisor will not discipline your coworker, it is important to take this step. Your claim will likely not be viable if you do not. 

What Behaviors Are Considered Criteria For A Hostile Work Environment: The Behavior Must Have An Adverse Effect

This offensive behavior in your work environment must be distressing enough that it affects your work. 

It is not necessary to prove that the behavior had financial or professional consequences for you. You don’t have to receive a demotion or be fired to prove the behavior has affected your work. However, those are things that will definitely strengthen a claim.

Who Can Create A Hostile Work Environment?

Now we know what behaviors are considered criteria for a hostile work environment. Let’s talk about people who can create a hostile work environment. 

Like we said earlier, the offensive behavior does not have to come from your supervisor. The perpetrator could be:

  • A supervisor in another department,
  • An agent of the employer
  • A co-worker, or
  • A non-employee, such as a contractor, intern, or regular visitor.

Anyone in your work environment can contribute to a hostile work environment, as long as the behavior meets the criteria above. 

What Are Some Examples of Offensive Behavior?

We talked about what behaviors are considered criteria for a hostile work environment. Now we’ll elaborate on what we mean by “offensive behavior” or “hostile behavior”.

Any of the following behaviors can create a hostile work environment:

  • Sharing sexual photos, discussing sex acts or making sexual comments. The perpetrator may direct these comments towards the victim, or in the presence of the victim.
  • Sexual posters on the wall of a cubicle
  • Inappropriate touching 
  • Telling offensive jokes
  • Offering unwanted comments about someone’s appearance
  • Using ethnic slurs or insensitive language
  • Setting up a Facebook group to shame a colleague 
  • Sabotaging an employee’s work
  • Posting inappropriate photos of a colleague on the internet, even when not at work.

Contact Gordon & Gordon Law Firm

The attorneys at Gordon & Gordon have years of experience in workplace lawsuits. If you are wondering if you have a viable hostile work environment claim, call Gordon & Gordon at 318.716.HELP. You can also leave us a message on our website.

Terminating an Employee on Workers Comp

Consequences of Terminating an Employee on Workers Comp

Terminating an employee on workers’ comp straddles the fine line of legalities. In Louisiana, the law protects employees from being fired while they’re on workers’ compensation or a disability leave. 

However, valid and legal reasons exist for firing an employee on workers comp.

TTD Meaning

Louisiana entitles employees, disabled because of a work related injury, to continued temporary total disability.Most refer to this as TTD.

This ceases when a physician releases them for work. However, the ‘return to work’ often comes under the terms of “light duty”. This holds true until the physician releases the employee for full duty.

If the physician gives work restrictions to the employee, then the employer is responsible for accommodating those restrictions. But, some jobs simply don’t have this option. So, for these cases, if the restrictions cannot be upheld, the employer owes the injured employee TTD benefits.

Obviously, it’s in the employer’s best interest to accommodate the light duty restrictions. This helps, not only to mitigate exposure, but also to return the employee into the routine, before they return to ‘full duty’.

Workers Compensation-Fired While On Light Duty Work?

In some cases, when an employee comes back to work on “light duty restrictions”, they may have a negative attitude toward the situation. Some employees begin to “act out”. Employees commonly experience this. So, employers should meet this with compassion. Most employees do want to get back to their jobs, before the work-related injury.

The employer should work with the employee to get him or her back to work ‘full duty’. If an employee is seeking treatment and wants to return to work, having their job will continue to keep them motivated.

However, the employee may reach maximum medical improvement, commonly known as MMI. This means the doctor or therapist has exhausted his or her resources to help the patient or worker. And, the condition will not improve any further. For most cases, this means that the employee will not be able to return to his or her full work duty, again. When this happens, the state requires the employer to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the employee so that he or she can perform.

Can I Be Terminated While On Workers Comp?

The employer may not be able to accommodate the employee’s return to work restrictions. Or, the employer cannot keep the employee’s position vacant while on workers’ compensation leave. This sometimes  leads the employer to hire someone to fill the position and terminate the employee on workers comp. 

The employer would have to work with the claims specialists, as well as ensure compliance with company policy before doing so.

Can You Collect Workers Comp After Being Fired?

If an employer terminates an employee on workers comp, the benefits still belong to the employee. Workers compensation benefits do not terminate with employment, or lack thereof. 

Furthermore, the government considers an individual who is totally disabled or with restrictions “unemployable”. Therefore unemployment benefits are not available to them. 

Lost time benefits will continue until a physician releases the employee to work “full duty” or placed at MMI. 

Firing an Employee on Workers Comp

Workers’ compensation premiums can be costly. In some cases, employers feel as if they must limit an employee’s lost time benefits by seeking opportunities to terminate an employee for a cause that’s unrelated to the work-related injury. 

This is not a good idea. However, many…many companies try this.

For starters, not only could the termination backfire with a retaliatory discharge suit, the workers’ comp benefits will continue for the employee. This includes medical and lost time benefits.

If you’re wondering how to fire an employee on workers’ comp, wait until the employee is at their pre-accident status. 

Once an employee sustains an injury at their place of employment, terminating their employment will not and should not provide any cost savings to the employer.

Furthermore, if an employer chooses not to hold the position for the injured employee when he or she can return, they may end up paying more. 

TDD benefits for lost time don’t have time limitations. These can continue indefinitely.

Consequences of Terminating an Employee on Workers Comp

Sure, there are instances in which it’s legal to terminate an employee on workers comp. The employer must ensure the reasons are valid. They must also dig deep to determine if he or she did everything in their power to assist in the employee’s return to work. This is regardless of if the return to work is full duty or restrictions. 

If not, the determined personal injury attorneys at Gordon and Gordon will not rest until the employee receives what they legally deserve.

If you’ve been terminated while on workers’ compensation, give us a call at 318-617-HELP. We offer free consultations and want to give you the best possible representation to get you what you’re legally entitled to, with or without the accommodation of your employer. 

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