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In the vast majority of cases, workers who experience injuries on the job file a claim for California workers’ compensation shortly after the injury occurs. However, what happens if you are terminated, laid off, or leave your job before submitting your workers’ compensation claim? Unfortunately, filing after ending your employment can affect your ability to receive benefits.
If you file a workers’ compensation claim after being fired or notified that you are fired or laid off, your employer may be able to deny workers’ compensation benefits. This rule is known as the post-termination defense, as it was developed to protect employers from their former employees. In essence, the post-termination defense prevents retaliation via false workers’ compensation claims after a layoff or termination.
For example, suppose you are laid off from your job. The next day, you file a workers’ compensation claim for an injury you claim you received mere days before termination. In most cases, the insurance company will initially deny your claim to protect your employer from potential retaliatory actions.
Of course, many workers’ compensation claims filed after employment has ended are valid. If your former employer utilizes the post-termination defense, how can you prove you experienced a valid injury while at work? You may be able to receive benefits if you can show one of the following exceptions:
Injured workers in California should always file a workers’ compensation claim, even if it occurs after employment ends. If you quit your job (versus being fired or laid off), post-termination defense does not apply since it is unlikely you are retaliating against your employer. If you were terminated or laid off, your employer will claim the post-termination defense – but if one of the above exceptions applies to you, you can still receive benefits.
In addition, some insurance companies regularly deny claims from former workers due to incorrect or misleading post-termination defenses. Alternatively, a dishonest employer may attempt to fire a worker in retaliation for reporting a job-related injury or may lie about receiving notification of a workers’ compensation injury prior to termination. The exceptions listed above were created to protect employees in these situations and help you pursue a valid workers’ compensation claim.
If you believe you have a valid California workers’ compensation claim but must file after your employment ends, you can benefit from a Los Angeles employment attorney’s guidance. For valuable insight into workers’ compensation laws and the validity of your claim, contact the Law Office of Omid Nosrati to schedule a consultation.