Can I File for Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina If I Was Fired? Debunking Common Myths

There’s a common misconception among workers that if they’re fired from their job after suffering an injury, they’re no longer eligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits. However, in North Carolina, being terminated from your job does not necessarily mean you lose your right to workers’ compensation, as long as you have a valid workers’ compensation claim

Understanding Your Rights

Under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, an employer is responsible for medical expenses and two-thirds of lost wages for an injury caused in the workplace. North Carolina workers’ compensation laws are designed to provide benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses, regardless of whether they are still employed at the time of filing a claim, while maintaining the employer’s accountability for maintaining a safe working environment. 

Being terminated from your job does not automatically disqualify you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits if you sustained an injury while performing your job duties. The key factor in determining eligibility for benefits is whether the injury or illness was work-related. If you can demonstrate that your injury occurred while on the job, you may still be entitled to medical treatment and compensation for lost wages, even if you are no longer employed by the company where the injury took place.

If your former employer tries to deny your workers’ compensation claim under the grounds that you were terminated, you can dispute the denial. It’s always advisable to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney when disputing a denial.

Workers’ Compensation Myths Debunked

Myth: I Can’t File for Workers’ Compensation If I Was Fired

Reality: You have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim if you were injured on the job, regardless of your employment status at the time of filing. Being terminated from your job does not negate your entitlement to benefits for a valid work-related injury.

Myth: My Workers’ Compensation Benefits End When I’m Fired

Reality: Workers’ compensation benefits are meant to provide financial assistance to injured workers for medical expenses and lost wages resulting from a work-related injury. If you were injured on the job and were receiving benefits prior to being fired, you may still be entitled to continue receiving those benefits.

Steps to Take After an Injury on the Job

The steps you take following being injured at work are crucial to successfully receiving compensation for your injury.

Report the Injury

Immediately report your injury to your employer, supervisor, or HR department. North Carolina law requires injured workers to report workplace injuries within no longer than 30 days of the injury to preserve their right to workers’ compensation benefits. This can be done either through written notice to your supervisor or by submitting a Form 18 to the North Carolina Industrial Commission and then giving a copy of the form to your employer. It’s important to remember that failure to report within a reasonable time might impact your ability to claim benefits.

Seek Medical Treatment

Seek prompt medical attention for your injuries. Your health and well-being should be your top priority following a workplace injury. Ensure you receive proper medical care and follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment and recovery. It is important to mention to your doctor that you were injured at work, so that it can be noted in your medical records.

Consult with an Attorney

It’s advisable to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, especially if you’ve been terminated from your job after suffering a work-related injury. An attorney can assess the circumstances of your case, advise you on your rights, and help you navigate the workers’ compensation claims process.

SeiferFlatow Can Guide You

Don’t let misconceptions about workers’ compensation prevent you from seeking the benefits you’re entitled to. At SeiferFlatow, our team of experienced workers’ compensation attorneys is dedicated to helping injured workers understand their rights and obtain the benefits they deserve. If you’ve been injured on the job and have questions about filing a workers’ compensation claim, we’re here to provide guidance and support every step of the way.

Contact SeiferFlatow today to consult with an attorney and let us help you navigate the workers’ compensation claims process.