A workplace injury is a heavy trial, especially if it leaves you disabled. Getting fired only makes things more difficult.
Employers are obligated by Illinois law to pay you disability benefits, even if you no longer work with them. However, they may try various methods to avoid that obligation. One of those methods may involve denying coverage by virtue of your being fired.
Instances in Which Firing May Occur
Even if you have been injured on the job, an employer has the right under Illinois law to fire employees for nearly any reason they see fit. These reasons may include:
- Poor job performance
- Damaging company property
- Failure to keep commitments
It’s worth noting that while Illinois law protects employers in their rights to fire employees, there are rules in place that prevent them from firing you for your injury. They may terminate your employment for misconduct or poor performance, but they are not permitted to fire you for being involved in a workers’ compensation case.
In addition, an employer may not fire you for your disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act and Human Rights Act both ensure this, so if your employer fires you because of your work injury, you may be entitled to damages.
Even if your employer legally fires you, they are still required by law to pay disability benefits. The cause of your termination is a nonissue—even if it was entirely your fault that you were fired, you are still entitled to TTD or TPD benefits.
The purpose of workers’ compensation is to look after your financial needs after a workplace injury, and as such, it is a no-fault system. Because of this, there is no reason why your employer should be exempted from paying disability benefits after firing you. If your employer attempts to deny you these benefits, your best course is to seek legal representation.
Seeking Legal Recourse
Assuming you followed through with the due processes of reporting your injury and applying for workers’ compensation, any attempt your employer makes to deny coverage is a violation of your rights under Illinois law. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you determine the best way to secure whatever disability benefits you’re owed by your former employer.
In addition, if your employer wrongfully terminated your employment, you may be able to seek legal recourse under ADA and Illinois Human Rights laws. In order to be successful in seeking damages in this case, you’ll need an attorney to evaluate your case and represent you. A successful lawsuit in this scenario can get you damages for lost wages, out-of-pocket costs, pain and suffering, and occasionally punitive damages. In addition, it helps protect others from going through the same situation by putting pressure on employers to follow the law.
Whether you are merely seeking disability benefits from a former employer or exacting damages for wrongful termination of employment, an attorney is vital to the process. These cases can become very complex, and you’ll need all the legal clout you can get. Hart David Carson LLP provides Illinois employees with the legal representation they need in these cases.