Can I lose my BWC Claim if I Lose my Job?
Work related injury is difficult enough to deal with, but losing your job on top of that really puts you between a rock and a hard place. We want to help you understand your situation and let you know that there is hope. At Taubman Law, we understand the ins and out of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) and the laws that cover employers and employees.
From the time your injury occurs, it is crucial to be in regular communication with your employer and attorney, and you must keep that up throughout the claim process. Being in contact with them will create transparency and clarity as to what your needs are. Chances are, in the case that you lose your job, it won’t come to you as a complete shock because you have kept in contact with your employer. Specifics of entitlements may vary with each employer, but for the most part, losing your claim as a result of losing your job is unlikely. Also, the employer can not fire, demote or harass you as a result of filing a workers’ compensation claim. O.R.C 4123.92 prevents this.
Being laid off is a terrible situation to be in, especially in the aftermath of a work-related injury. However, the truth of the matter is that it is very hard to protect your job after any sort of debilitating incident. Different employers have different circumstances, and sometimes it is necessary for the business to hire an employee to replace you as soon as possible. For example, if your company cannot meet production needs if you will not be able to work for a long time, or if you become permanently disabled. Luckily, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will continue to pay wage loss benefits and medical expenses if you are let go while recovering. Again, the employer cannot discriminate against the injured worker, the policy must be the same for all types of injuries.
Being fired is a trickier area to navigate because there is a higher likelihood that you could lose your claim. An important thing to remember is that you absolutely should not quit. This is considered “voluntary abandonment” and makes you ineligible to receive compensation. This includes retirement. According to the Ohio Supreme Court, “voluntary abandonment” can also refer to actions committed by an employee that could lead to termination. This creates many gray areas, as employers will sometimes search for seemingly harmless infractions on your record. Something like tardiness could be grounds to terminate an employee. It is also notable that you cannot be fired due to injury.
At Taubman Law we can help you distinguish your workers’ compensation rights even after losing your job. We will help you decide what to do or what options you have in the case of being let go or fired. Most importantly, we will protect you against losing workers’ compensation benefits.
This post was written by Bruce D. Taubman, a Cleveland attorney who practices workers’ compensation, personal injury and medical malpractice throughout Ohio.