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Can I be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim?

On Behalf of | Aug 26, 2021 | Workers' Compensation |

The purpose of workers’ compensation insurance is to protect both employers and employees when an employee suffers a job-related injury. While employers may not enjoy paying workers’ compensation premiums, the alternative could be financially devastating, particularly for small businesses. The policy covers medical bills, rehabilitation and other financial losses for employees. In the absence of this coverage, employees would be able to file a civil suit against their employer to recover damages, including pain and suffering. Most states require that employers carry workers’ comp insurance coverage.

Some employees may hesitate to file a workers’ compensation claim, fearing retaliation by their employer. Fortunately, the law protects employees from this.

Workers’ compensation claim

Even though Virginia is a right-to-work state, the law forbids employers from firing individuals solely because they filed a workers’ comp claim. Further, it protects an employee who is considering filing a claim and any other employee who provides testimony on the claimant’s behalf.

Civil suit

In Virginia, if an employee is receiving workers’ compensation, they cannot sue their employer, even if the award was insufficient to cover all expenses. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation also does not cover damages for pain and suffering. However, if a third party’s negligence led to the injury, it may be possible to bring a civil suit against them, as long as they do not work for the same employer.

Employees who sustain work-related injuries must report the incident to their employer within 30 days. The employee has two years following the incident to file a workers’ compensation claim.