Being injured on the job can cause more than just a physical injury. By being out of work and home recovering, you may be experiencing a financial strain without your normal week-to-week paycheck.
Typically, if you are out on workers’ compensation insurance, you should be getting two-thirds of your lost pay. Unfortunately, an employer can deny you lost wages and raise the argument that you are responsible for your termination and deny liability for your claim.
Attorney Britton Morrell of Denver-based Kaplan Morrell Attorneys at Law explains what you need to know after you’ve been injured on the job.
An employer may accuse you of being responsible for the lost wages.
That means you are going to need to hire an attorney and go to court. It will be their responsibility to prove you were responsible for your termination. In Colorado, responsible for termination means the employer has to prove that you exercised a degree of control – a choice – and you did something knowing you would get fired.
A good example of this would be a worker who was fired for being consistently late. Suppose they overslept and their employer gives them a warning that if they are late again this week they will be terminated. The next morning they are traveling to work and their car tire is punctured by broken glass on the road. The incident causes the worker to show up to work 10 minutes late. As a result, their employer fires them for being late to work two times in one week.
That worker is responsible for the termination.
The employer didn’t fire the worker the first time when they were at fault for oversleeping but gave a warning. The second time was not the employee's fault because they exercised no control over the situation. It was not their fault that they were late. The firing may still be legally justified but the worker is entitled to lost wages under workers’ compensation because the worker did not have control over their situation.
Often, we see employees claiming they were sent home because they had restrictions that could not be accommodated, but the employer later claims the employee walked off the job or just stopped showing up. Another common scenario is when the employee clocks out of work to attend a medical appointment but doesn’t come back. In these situations texting or emailing your employer can be critical evidence about what was said and by whom. Use texts to confirm – in writing – your understanding so that later it’s clear what was said.
If you are out of work because of a work-related injury, make sure you are getting medical care and lost wages. An attorney will help fight for the benefits that are rightfully owed to you, so it’s important to connect with a professional if your employer has wrongfully terminated you, denied your claim, or is withholding your pay.
For over 20 years, Kaplan Morrell Attorneys at Law has a history of helping injured and disabled workers obtain the rights and benefits they are due under the workers compensation, social security disability, and employment laws of Colorado and the United States. Britton Morrell represents injured workers with workers' compensation issues. Additional legal issues represented include social security disability and employment litigation.