The Truth About Workers Comp
People are often worried about getting fired if they hire a lawyer (or even if they don’t) after having a work injury – so what’s true and what’s myth?
First, Mississippi is an at-will employment state. What that means is that an employer can terminate an employee for almost any reason, unless it deals with age, sex, race, etc. Unfortunately a person can legally be fired just for the fact that they got injured at work.
But when our firm’s employees get hurt on the job, we want them to get good treatment. That’s what good employers should do. That’s why we pay for workers’ comp insurance. Employers don’t pay those premiums just to be paying them. If something happens, they should want you to get the benefits that they already paid for so that you can get better and come back to work. Otherwise, they have to go out and hire and train somebody new. If your employer does not feel this way, the question would be “who wants to work for someone who doesn’t want to take care of their employees?”
That’s the practical way to think through this issue, and even though you can’t sue the employer for firing you, there are legal consequences if they fired you after filing a workers compensation claim. It creates a presumption in your comp case of permanent and total disability if your boss fires you after you get hurt at work. The insurance company, and maybe even your boss, knows that. So, even though (technically) there’s no recourse for firing you in retaliation for filing a WC claim, the presumption of disability does give them some incentive to keep you around.
The truth is, we don’t see many people get fired after making a comp claim. The ones that do get fired are the ones who failed to get an attorney ahead of time. A decent attorney will and should do all they can to protect you in this regard. Usually, if our clients are told that they can’t come back to work, it’s because their employer can’t accommodate their restrictions. Not because they filed a claim.
If you got hurt and work and are worried about this issue, call our office for a free confidential consultation on what your rights are and don’t be one of those clients who waits until after they are fired to protect themselves.