Am I Still Eligible For Workers’ Comp If I Lose My Job?
Technically, workers’ compensation is an employee benefit in Florida. So, if you lose your job while you’re on workers’ comp, you also lose these benefits. However, a termination doesn’t change the fact that the worker is hurt and needs money to get back to work. That outcome benefits everyone. Additionally, if you lose your benefits in this situation, you have some other legal options.
A good Tampa workers’ compensation attorney always looks for the best possible option. Since workers’ comp is no-fault insurance, that’s usually the best alternative. However, an attorney is committed to your physical and financial recovery. So, if other options are available, your lawyer can point you in the right direction and most likely advocate for you in that forum.
Florida is an at-will employment state, like most other jurisdictions. Most employers can fire most workers at any time for a bad reason, a good reason, or for no reason at all. However, no boss may fire any worker for an illegal reason. Most people are familiar with the protected classes named in the Civil Rights Act. These categories include:
- Age (over 40),
- National origin,
- Gender, and
- Sexual orientation.
The Supreme Court recently enlarged the sexual orientation protective umbrella. It now shelters most workers who are anywhere on the LGBTQ spectrum.
No federal law applies to workers’ comp filing discrimination. But Florida does have such a law. Workers cannot be terminated or disciplined because they file workers’ comp claims or encourage another person to file a claim.
It’s pretty easy for a Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer to establish a preliminary discrimination claim. A time link is usually enough (e.g. filing claim in January and termination in February). The employer must then prove that the termination had a non-discriminatory basis. This same analysis applies to other kidneys of adverse action, such as sidelining, reassignment, or demotion.
Social Security Disability
Some job-related injuries qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Our Tampa workers’ compensation lawyers are among the very few professionals in Hillsborough County that handle both matters.
Basically, to obtain SSD benefits, victims must prove they have permanent disabilities. “Permanent” usually means the condition will be debilitating for at least twelve months and/or is fatal. A “disability” is an inability to work at the victim’s current job and an inability to find other substantial, gainful employment. Certain other qualifications, such as income rules, may apply as well.
SSD and workers’ compensation cases have some procedural similarities. In both cases, a Claims Examiner almost always denies the claim, at least in part. At a subsequent appeal healing, a victim has a much better chance of obtaining maximum SSD financial benefits. These victims are also eligible for Medicare, after a brief waiting period.
A negligence claim against an employer might be an option as well. However, these cases are quite complex.
Count on a Thorough Hillsborough County Attorney
Injury victims are entitled to important financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. You have a limited amount of time to act.