If you quit, got laid off, or were fired from a job in which you suffered a work-related injury or illness, you may still be entitled to file for and receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, filing after your employment ends can affect your ability to receive benefits.
Why Pursue a Workers’ Compensation Claim Against a Former Employer?
You might have good reason to file a workers’ compensation claim against an employer after you’ve left your job. For one, you may have suffered an injury at your previous workplace you did not consider serious at the time. As a result, you did not report it. However, it unexpectedly worsened sometime after your employment ended.
Another possibility is that you discovered you developed a chronic injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, due to long-term repetitive motion required by your previous job. Similarly, you might have contracted an occupational disease due to chemical exposure, such as mesothelioma or asthma.
Because cumulative trauma injuries develop gradually over an extended period, it’s not uncommon for symptoms to manifest well after employment ends, perhaps not appearing until months or years later.
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Meeting Deadlines to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim After Leaving a Job
There are limitations on the time to file a worker’s compensation claim. In Georgia, you are advised to report any job-related accident to your employer immediately. If you suffered an injury in a single incident, you should give your employer notice within the 30-day time frame established by Georgia workers’ compensation law. This applies whether you are still working for that job or have left. In either case, filing as soon as possible may be in your best interest.
If you discover you are suffering from a chronic disease related to a cumulative stress injury or chemical exposure, the time you have to file a claim doesn’t begin until the date you learned of your condition. It will most likely be discovered or confirmed by a doctor who can help determine if your previous job duties may have been responsible for your current injury or illness.
In this case, you’ll need evidence that shows your current medical condition was caused by your previous job duties rather than any work or activities you engaged in more recently.
Proving That a Previous Job Caused Your Workers’ Compensation Injuries
Even in the best of circumstances, there are reasons why an insurance company might deny or devalue a claim. If your claim is filed after your employment was terminated, they may assert your previous job wasn’t the main reason you needed medical treatment or that it wasn’t a factor at all. Still, this shouldn’t prevent you from filing a claim you know is valid after you’ve left your job.
To help support your claim, you are encouraged to promptly notify your former employer about your job-related injury or illness if you haven’t already. Ask what you need to do to file a formal claim and choose a treating doctor who can provide a medical opinion about your condition’s cause. You could also contact an attorney who can offer valuable insight into workers’ compensation laws and your claim’s validity.
Furthermore, if you can show your case includes any of the following conditions, you might be able to counter a former employer’s determination on your claim:
- Your employer was aware of your injury before your termination.
- You have previous injury-related medical records dated before your termination.
- You gave your employer your resignation, or you were notified of an upcoming termination and were injured before your last day.
- You suffered long-term cumulative trauma or chemical exposure that can’t be tied to a specific event.
When You Were Fired or Laid Off Because of Your Workers’ Compensation Injury
Consider consulting with a workers’ compensation attorney if you believe your employer fired or laid you off to prevent you from filing a claim. Under Georgia law, retaliating against an employee for any reason related to a workers’ compensation case is illegal. If this is true of your case, don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer to help you determine if you were wrongfully terminated and if you have legal recourse.
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Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for Help With a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Workers’ compensation claims can be challenging, and there are many laws and rules to navigate. If you wish to file a workers’ compensation claim for an injury suffered at a previous job, consulting with an attorney who handles work-related injury claims could benefit your case. Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to learn if you can pursue benefits from a former employer for your current medical condition.