Many of our clients are worried about what will happen to their workers’ compensation benefits if they are fired. The good news is, an injured worker is entitled to continue receiving medical benefits even after being terminated or leaving the company they worked for at the time of the injury. Even if an injured worker moves to another area, the insurance company is still required to provide medical treatment.
What Are Lost Wage Benefits?
The other issue, and most of the time the more important issue, is lost wages.
There are two main types of lost wage benefits:
- Temporary total disability benefits (TTD): These benefits are paid when a doctor has taken an injured employee out of work completely. Regardless of whether you are terminated, TTD benefits will continue until a doctor tells you that you are on light duty status and can work with certain restrictions.
- Temporary partial disability benefits (TPD): These benefits are paid when a doctor puts an injured worker on light duty status and allows them to work with certain restrictions.
If your employer offers a position that comes with only “light duty” restrictions, you must return to work if you wish to get paid. If you decide to quit your job voluntarily during this period, the insurance company will argue that you are voluntarily limiting your own income, thus, they will refuse to pay you lost wages. However, if you are terminated while working on light duty status, the insurance company will likely have to continue paying you lost wage benefits.
As you might have suspected, there is an exception to this rule: If you were fired “for cause,” your employer does not have to continue paying your workers’ compensation benefits. The insurance company will likely argue that you were terminated “for cause” due to reasons unrelated to the injury. One example could be that the entire company experienced mass layoffs. The insurance company will argue that they no longer owe you benefits because you were terminated for an unrelated reason.
If you have been fired, or are fearful that you might be fired, please contact us at Van Dingenen Law for a free consultation to discuss your options and rights under the Florida Workers’ Compensation system.