The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 2.2 out of every 100 employees in New York State were injured or became sick from work in 2020. Most employers in New York State maintain workers’ compensation insurance to pay for medical bills and lost wages for injured employees.
As you heal from your injuries, you may wonder if your workplace can fire you while you’re recuperating. You may hope to leave your job but worry you’ll lose your workers’ compensation benefits. Learn whether you’re still eligible for workers’ comp after leaving your job and how Catalano Law can help you fight a denied claim.
Who is Eligible for Workers’ Comp in New York State?
Workers’ compensation entitles you to coverage for medical care and weekly cash benefits. Under New York State law, almost anyone who gets hurt or sick because of work is eligible for workers’ compensation. These employees include family members, unpaid volunteers, part-time workers, and day laborers who work at a for-profit business.
However, you may lose your right to workers’ compensation if you deliberately injured yourself or you sustained injuries under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Can I Be Fired If I’m on Workers’ Comp?
New York State doesn’t require private employers to have reasonable cause to terminate you. For instance, workplace issues, such as poor performance or misconduct, are acceptable reasons to fire you. Your employer is not obligated to keep your position open for you under New York State workers’ compensation law.
There are exceptions to your termination. If you qualify to take time off under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you can return to your job or an equivalent position with the same benefits and pay. Your employer cannot fire you for taking your leave.
Employers are also prohibited from firing you because you applied for or receive workers’ comp. If you believe your termination was because of your workers’ compensation application, you can file a discrimination claim with the help of your lawyer.
Can I Receive Workers’ Comp if I’m Fired?
You are entitled to medical care for your work-related injury or illness even if you return to work. Medical care is a lifetime benefit available as part of your workers’ compensation.
If you have a temporary disability, you must show labor market attachment to the workers’ compensation board and your employer’s insurance company so you can continue receiving lost wages. Labor market attachment means you are actively looking for a job that you can perform within the scope of your disability.
You must show the insurance company and the workers’ compensation board evidence of your job search. This can include your resumes and completed job applications. If you fail to show proof of your job search efforts, it may be deemed voluntary withdrawal from the labor market. The lost wage benefits may stop as a result.
Can I File for Workers’ Compensation After I Quit?
You may receive workers’ compensation even if you voluntarily leave your job. This process includes reporting your injuries or illness to your employer within 30 days of the accident. You should also submit a claim with the workers’ compensation board within the two-year statute of limitations.
Taking these steps to file your claim protects you from losing workers’ compensation benefits for medical care if you quit. As long as you remain active in your job search efforts with labor market attachment, you may continue to collect your lost wages.
What Should I Do if My Claim is Denied?
If your employer or their insurance company believes your injury does not qualify for workers’ compensation, they can deny your claim. You have the right to appeal a denial of workers’ compensation by your employer or the insurance company. A judge can perform an administrative review of your appeal and decide whether you receive workers’ compensation benefits.
You can handle this process with the help of an experienced Syracuse worksite injury lawyer to put together your appeal. Their knowledge of New York State workers’ compensation laws can help protect your right to compensation during the legal process.
Get Legal Advice for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you were injured on the job and find yourself negotiating for workers’ compensation that you are entitled to receive, our workplace injury attorneys at Catalano Law can help. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.