Workers' compensation insurance only covers people who are actively employed with the company. However, just because you quit or are fired from your position doesn't mean you'll are ineligible for benefits. Here are two things that must be done to ensure you can collect compensation if you need to file a claim after you leave the company.
Prove the Injury Occurred While Employed
The top issues you'll face when filing a workers' comp claim after leaving your job is proving the injury occurred while you were still working for the company. This can be challenging, particularly if you were hurt in the time period after you gave notice (or were notified of your impending termination) and the day you actually stopped working for the company. Both your employer and workers' compensation may get the impression that you're simply filing a claim for nefarious reasons, such as retaliation for being let go, and this may make them take an aggressive stance against you and make it more difficult for you to be approved for benefits.
It'll be critical to show that the injury took place while you were still an official employee and that you don't have any ulterior motive besides getting fair compensation for the harm done to you. For instance, you may need to present witness testimony (e.g., statements from other employees, video recordings) detailing when the accident occurred and corroborating your story. Injuries that developed over a long period of time (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome) will typically require medical confirmation that the condition is the direct result of your time working for the company.
A workers' compensation attorney can help you determine exactly what type of evidence is needed to support your claim, so it's a good idea to consult with a lawyer before filing one.
Notify The Employer in Timely Manner
Another thing that you absolutely must do when trying to win workers' comp benefits after leaving the company is to ensure you notify the company about your injuries promptly. Almost all states require claimants notify employers about accidents and other issues within a set period of time, such as 30 days. If you miss the deadline, you will be barred from receiving benefits, even if you have an airtight case.
It's important you tell your employer about your injury as soon as you learn about it. It's best to do so in writing but telling the company in person is usually also acceptable. As long as there is a record of your notifying a company representative within the time period, you should be okay.
For more information about managing a workers' comp claim, contact a law office like Oxner + Permar, PLLC.