Legal Issues

Fired After an Injury? Can You Still Get Workers’ Comp Benefits?

Suffering a workplace injury is difficult enough. The pain, the medical appointments, and the potential inability to work can create enormous stress. Then, to add insult to injury, imagine being fired after you get hurt on the job. This scenario raises understandable fear and uncertainty regarding financial security and access to continued medical care.

Workers’ compensation benefits, which are meant to be a safety net in these situations, might suddenly feel in jeopardy. However, it’s important to understand that workers’ compensation is generally a “no-fault” system.

This means injured workers are typically entitled to benefits even if they were partially responsible for the accident causing their injuries. Being fired after filing a workers’ compensation claim can raise concerns.

Seeking legal advice from a qualified Seattle workers compensation lawyer, or an experienced attorney in your area, is crucial for understanding your rights and options in a situation like this.

Workers’ Comp: Your Rights and Protections 

Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” insurance system designed to protect employees who are injured on the job. If you get hurt at work, you are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.

These benefits typically cover medical expenses related to the injury, a portion of your lost wages if you’re unable to work, and compensation for any permanent disability. One of the most important protections offered by workers’ compensation laws is that employers cannot retaliate against you for filing a worker’s comp claim.

Retaliation includes actions like firing, demoting, or harassing an employee in response to their pursuit of these benefits.

Reasons for Termination After an Injury 

Unfortunately, being fired after a workplace injury happens. It’s important to understand that there are legitimate reasons for termination that are unrelated to your worker’s comp claim. For instance, if your company experiences a downturn and layoffs become necessary, your job might be eliminated.

Economic factors, business restructuring, or consistently poor performance documented before your injury could also lead to termination. However, employers cannot legally fire you simply because you filed a workers’ comp claim.

This type of firing is considered retaliatory. If you are fired shortly after getting injured or filing a claim, the timing is highly suspicious. This can be strong circumstantial evidence of retaliation, particularly if you were previously a valued employee with a positive track record.

Proving Retaliatory Termination

Proving that an employer fired you in retaliation for a workers’ compensation claim can be challenging. Employers are unlikely to openly admit to it, often manufacturing other reasons to justify the termination.

However, building a strong case is possible. Pay close attention to any changes in how your employer treats you after they become aware of your injury. For instance, were you suddenly given negative performance reviews when you hadn’t received them before? Increased disciplinary actions for minor issues? Was there a lack of documented performance concerns prior to your injury?

If you suspect retaliation, keep copies of all communications regarding your performance or disciplinary actions. Also, note any changes in your job responsibilities. If tasks are removed or you’re excluded from meetings or projects, this might be a sign of an attempt to justify a later termination.

An experienced Seattle work injuries attorney, or an attorney familiar with workplace injury cases in your area, is invaluable in helping you gather the right kind of evidence and presenting a persuasive case.

What to Do If You Suspect Retaliation

If you believe you’ve been fired in retaliation for a workers’ comp claim, seeking legal advice early on is crucial. An attorney specializing in these matters can evaluate your situation and advise you on the best course of action.

If you’re still employed, start documenting everything. Keep detailed records of any negative performance reviews, disciplinary actions, or changes in your treatment by your employer or your supervisors. Record the dates, times, and circumstances of these incidents, and include the names of anyone involved.

If possible, discreetly try to obtain copies of your employee file, as it may contain relevant information about your performance history. Pay close attention to interactions with any witnesses who might be willing to support your case; however, avoid discussing your suspicions with coworkers, as this could backfire.

In many cases, you have the right to file an additional retaliation claim on top of your initial workers’ comp claim. It’s also advisable to use a personal injury settlement calculator to get a preliminary idea of potential damages.

However, it’s important to consult with an attorney who can evaluate the specifics of your case for a more accurate assessment. Navigating a retaliation case can be stressful. An attorney is not only your legal advocate but also provides support and guidance throughout the process.


Being fired after a workplace injury is an unfair situation that unfortunately occurs too frequently. It’s essential to remember that retaliatory termination after a workers’ comp claim is illegal. If you find yourself in this position, don’t feel powerless or assume there’s nothing you can do.

Despite the termination, the question remains: can you collect workers’ comp after being fired? The answer is often yes, and seeking guidance from a Seattle workers’ compensation lawyer or an attorney experienced in workplace retaliation cases in your area is the best way to understand your rights and options.

While these cases can be complex, employers must be held accountable for breaking the law. They cannot be allowed to use your injury as an excuse to get rid of you. Don’t give up on fighting for the compensation and justice you rightfully deserve. Taking action empowers you and sends a message that these abuses won’t be tolerated.

Leave a Reply