Can I Get Fired for Suing My Employer if I Was Injured at Work?
Whether you take it on faith or not, your employer has a legal obligation to provide you with a safe, non-dangerous place in which to work. Most do their best to meet this requirement, and this is fortunate since people do suffer workplace injuries every day. One of them could even be you, and if this should prove to be the case, we want to assure you that options do exist. The most useful of these consists of workers’ compensation.
Prior to its advent in Wisconsin in 1911, any worker who suffered injury on the job due to his employer’s negligence could only gain relief by instituting a lawsuit. This was not an easy matter. The worker not only had to prove negligence on his employer’s part but also to scrape together sufficient funds to cover his attorney and court fees. If he happened to lose his case, he stood to collect nothing in the way of damages and was subsequently left in a financial hole.
Workers’ compensation exists to protect you from just this sort of situation. Unfortunately, workers who fear the loss of their jobs often fail to take advantage of this benefit.
When You Think That Your Employer Might Retaliate
We have found that many workplace-injured employees fear taking any action lest it lead to reprisal on the part of the boss. This is only natural, and for workers who labor in so-called right-to-work states like Nevada, this type of worry is bound to exist.
That’s because that right-to-work designation has nothing to do with a worker’s rights. On the contrary, it gives an employer license to fire any of his workers at any time and for just about any cause. If you’ve been injured on the job, your employer may use the concept as a threat, hoping to discourage you from seeking compensation.
However, we want to assure our clients that this right to terminate employees at will does have its limits. Above all, it does not extend to workers’ compensation cases. Your employer cannot legally fire you for filing such a claim. If he does try to do this, you will have legal grounds for a lawsuit.
When Employers Fail to Carry Workers’ Compensation
The state of Nevada does not require all employers to carry this sort of coverage. Specifically, it exempts sole proprietors as well as those who employ:
- Household and domestic labor.
- Horticultural and agricultural help.
- Workers in interstate commerce venues not conditional on Nevada law.
- Employees otherwise covered by private death benefit and disability plans.
- Temporary workers from out of state.
- Short-term, low-wage workers.
By Nevada law, other companies with one or more employees must carry workers’ compensation coverage for the benefit not only of their on-site employees but also of their independent contractors and subcontractors.
What Workers’ Compensation Can Do for You
Workers’ compensation will cover almost every injury that a person may suffer on the job, sometimes even in cases where the worker’s own carelessness may have played a role. In addition to compensating you for falls and other such obvious accidents, it will also cover injuries resulting from:
– Extended periods of overuse or misuse of a body part.
– Working conditions that over time have led to lung disease, heart trouble or similar physical problems.
– Stressful workplace conditions causing digestive upset or psychological distress.
It should also cover physical harm suffered away from the workplace while performing duties related to the job.
It’s important to understand that workers’ compensation benefits will not apply to every injury suffered by a person while working. Because the law expects employees to take some responsibility for their own safety, it will generally not extend benefits to those who suffer injuries that:
- Are self-inflicted.
- Result from having been intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
- Occur while engaging in conduct that goes against company policy.
- Are suffered away from the place of work while engaged in activities unrelated to the job.
- Take place during the commission of a crime.
How to Apply for Workers’ Compensation
If you should suffer injury on the job, there are several steps you’ll need to follow. The law expects you to:
- Notify your employer within seven days from the date of injury.
- Have him sign a C-1 form. Otherwise known as the Notice of Injury or Occupational Disease, it will document the fact that management is aware of your injury and acknowledges that it took place on the job.
- See a medical professional as soon as possible and ask him to sign Form C-4, the Employee’s Compensation Report of Initial Treatment.
- Submit Form C-4 to your employer’s insurance claims administrator no later than 90 days following your date of injury.
If you have suffered an on-the-job injury and are having difficulty with your claim, the personal injury attorneys at Gregory & Waldo can help. We want to ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled, and we pledge to do whatever we must to make that happen. Please contact our offices today.