A common issue that arises under California workers compensation law is whether an employee should be provided temporary disability benefits following termination. Whether they should be allowed temporary disability depends on many factors, and each situation is going to be unique and distinct from the next. If you have been terminated while on workers compensation, you will want to consult with an experienced work injury lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights. This is because the workers compensation adjuster will be tempted to discontinue benefits following your termination, putting you into a defensive position with regards to your claim. As time goes on, your financial situation will likely worsen, which might make you inclined to settling your case for less than it is worth just to obtain some immediate cash flow. Do not let this happen to you, get represented before a termination even occurs!
California Workers Compensation Law, Termination And Temporary Disability (TD)
Generally speaking, termination should not affect the employees right to continue to collect temporary disability benefits after being let go. However, there are specific circumstances that can entitle the insurance company to cut them off following termination, even if the employee cannot perform their usual and customary duties. Remember, the employer cannot terminate you for filing a claim so be aware that you termination could give rise to a discrimination claim under Labor Code 132a with a 1 year statute of limitations (must file the discrimination case within 1 year from the date of the discrimination). Unfortunately, it is often extremely difficult to prove discrimination claims because pretext is used by the employer to let the hurt worker go.
One specific set of circumstances that could allow the insurance adjuster to not pay temporary disability benefits following termination is where the termination was based upon an honesty offense or an offense of moral turpitude. Again, every scenario is unique and must be looked at on a case by case basis to evaluate whether a denial of TD is justified. A lawyer would take a look at your circumstances and determine whether filing for an expedited hearing on the issue is warranted. If it is, the lawyer will usually do so for a fee of 15% of whatever retroactive benefits are awarded if the TD denial is overturned (you will receive the money that the insurance adjuster should have paid you if you win at the expedited hearing, and the judge usually awards your workmans comp lawyer 15% of what you recover at the hearing).
Another specific set of circumstances that could give rise to a denial is where the employee is on modified duty prior to termination and claims that no modified work is available in the labor market, leaving them totally temporarily disabled without work or income. Again, every situation is unique and looking at the specific circumstances is the only way to know whether this is proper. A work injury lawyer can help you do this and take disputes to a court of law to be resolved by a judge if they believe the claim is wrongfully denied. If the worker truly cannot find work but the employer can show they could have continued to offer modified duty absent a good-faith business decision to terminate, TD is generally not allowed. However, if the employee was let go because he could no longer perform his job duties within the modified duties assigned by the doctor, TD might be proper.
California State Disability Benefit To Replace Temporary Disability Benefits Following Termination
In the event that you are facing a denial following termination of employment, you should consider applying for California State Disability Benefits to replace lost temporary disability from the insurance company. Whether EDD SDI is available under your circumstances will be determined by the State. An attorney will probably have you apply for these benefits while they fight your TD denial in court so that you have some money to keep you financially afloat while the court battle is in progress. Of course, you will need to be under the care of a doctor who can certify you for EDD SDI. If a doctor feels that your work restrictions are very minor, you might not be entitled to disability benefits from the State of California at all.
Contact A Fontana Work Injury Lawyer For Help
Our Fontana law firm practice represents injured workers in Fontana California who are facing total claim denials as well as denials of benefits on admitted cases. Whatever you situation, we are here to speak with you at no charge over the phone today when you call us. Do not hesitate to get the help you need before it is to late. All of our services are offered on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not have to pay anything out of pocket. Attorney fees are only due to us by you when we recover money on your behalf via settlement or award at trial. We charge a modest 15% of whatever money we collect, so do not feel intimidated by the costs of retaining our office! Visit us at workerscomplawyerie.com or call 909-325-6032 to speak directly with an experienced work injury lawyer.