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Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation After Being Laid Off?

laidoff worker

Despite best efforts by regulators, legislators, and private sector stakeholders, the economy continues to feel the effects of the covid-19 pandemic. While 2021 created a spur of growth, economic pressures such as inflation have strained certain industries, including the tech and real estate sectors, which experienced layoffs in recent months. In contrast, industries such as healthcare, education, and manufacturing are actively looking to add talent as they work to improve workforce shortages, according to the US Chamber of Commerce. As an employee, workers are provided workers’ compensation insurance in the event of an injury at work or in the course of conducting company duties. This protection can extend past one’s tenure with their employer if certain conditions are met. 

Injury Occurs During Employment

To be eligible for workers’ compensation from a former employer, the injured worker, in most cases, will need to be able to show that the injury occurred within the timeframe of employment and that the injury occurred due to work-related activities. A doctor’s visit or a reported and documented injury to HR can help suffice as evidence. These instances vary in every state and with regard to eligibility. For example, an injury in the parking lot of an employer will likely be covered in New Jersey as it is protected in statute, whereas in a state like Ohio or Kentucky, it would not. 

Meet The Reporting Deadlines

In addition, injured workers must comply with reporting requirements in their respective states. Missing a deadline to report one’s injury or filing a claim late could render the injured worker ineligible for compensation, making it a crucial component for injured workers to keep in mind once they have been injured. While most states give workers 30 days to report an injury and two years to file a workers’ compensation claim, other states may provide more or less time. Minnesota allows 180 days to report and three years to file a claim compared to Wyoming, where injured workers have just three days to report and ten days to file a claim.  

Work From Home Injuries

Remote workers are also eligible for workers’ compensation as long as the injury ensued during the time they were with their employer and while conducting business duties on behalf of their employer. Although it may be harder to prove, slips, trips, falls, even cumulative injuries such as ergonomic-related pain from prolonged sitting or inadequate equipment can qualify for workers’ compensation. In states like Pennsylvania and Minnesota, a remote worker going to grab a beverage and injuring oneself by falling will likely be able to acquire benefits for workers’ compensation. Like all injuries, multiple factors must be considered, such as in Florida, where a remote worker tripped over their dog, hurting themselves in the process. Unfortunately, the added canine presence not being usual in most workplaces made this claim ineligible. 

In short, being laid off does not disqualify injured workers from receiving, continuing to receive, or filing for workers’ compensation. Nonetheless, workers hurt on the job for any injury should always document and report incidents that occurred to them at work or while in the course of working for their employer to best ensure access to workers’ compensation benefits.

Does Workers' Compensation Cover You When You Are Working From Home?