Can I be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Buffalo, NY?

Accidents can happen in any workplace, leaving employees injured and in need of medical attention. In Buffalo, New York, just like in any other part of the United States, workers have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits if they suffer from work-related injuries or illnesses. However, a common concern among employees is whether they can be fired for simply seeking the compensation they are entitled to. To address this concern, it’s essential to understand the legal framework, rights, and protections provided to workers who file workers’ compensation claims. In this article, we delve into the topic, shedding light on the intricacies of this issue and providing insight into the role of Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner & Gambino, P.C. in ensuring your rights are safeguarded.Can I be fired for filing a workers' compensation claim in Buffalo, NY?

Understanding Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides medical treatment, wage replacement, and other benefits to employees who suffer injuries or illnesses as a result of their job. It is designed to provide financial support to workers during their recovery process and alleviate the financial burden caused by medical bills and lost wages. Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, but they generally require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover potential workplace injuries or illnesses.

Can You Be Fired for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

One of the primary concerns employees have when considering filing a workers’ compensation claim is the fear of retaliation from their employers. Many worry that seeking the benefits they rightfully deserve could lead to termination or other forms of adverse employment actions. The good news is that in Buffalo, New York, and throughout the state, employees are protected against retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

New York Labor Law Section 120 states that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against or discharge an employee who has exercised their rights to claim workers’ compensation benefits. This legal provision aims to ensure that employees feel secure and are not discouraged from seeking the compensation they need to recover from their injuries. In the unfortunate event that an employer does engage in retaliatory behavior, employees have the right to take legal action and seek remedies.

Your Rights and Protections

When you file a workers’ compensation claim in Buffalo, NY, you are entitled to certain rights and protections. These include:

  • Non-Retaliation: As mentioned earlier, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This protection extends to various forms of retaliation, such as termination, demotion, reduction in hours, or any other adverse employment action.
  • Medical Treatment: Workers who file a claim have the right to receive necessary and reasonable medical treatment for their work-related injuries or illnesses. This includes doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation services.
  • Wage Replacement: If your injury prevents you from working for an extended period, you may be eligible for wage replacement benefits. These benefits typically cover a portion of your lost wages during the recovery period.
  • Permanent Partial Disability: If your injury results in a permanent partial disability that affects your ability to work, you may be entitled to additional compensation.
  • Appeals Process: In case your claim is denied or disputed, you have the right to appeal the decision and present your case in front of a workers’ compensation judge.
  • Legal Representation: You have the right to seek legal counsel to guide you through the process, ensuring your rights are protected and you receive the benefits you are entitled to.

Diligence in Pursuing Your Rights

When faced with a work-related injury or illness, it’s important to remember that your well-being is of paramount importance. Your dedication and hard work have contributed to your employer’s success, and your rights should be upheld without compromise. Understanding the legal protection you have under New York Labor Law Section 120 empowers you to assert your rights confidently.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to file a workers’ compensation claim, follow these steps to ensure you’re diligently pursuing your rights:

  • Prompt Reporting: Report your injury or illness to your supervisor as soon as possible. Timely reporting helps establish a clear record of the incident and your intention to seek necessary medical attention.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Your health should always be your priority. Seek medical treatment promptly, and follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery.
  • Document Everything: Keep detailed records of your injury, medical appointments, treatments received, medications prescribed, and any expenses incurred. These records will serve as valuable evidence in case of disputes.
  • Notify HR: In addition to informing your immediate supervisor, notify your company’s human resources department about your injury and your intent to file a workers’ compensation claim. This ensures that your employer is aware of the situation and can take the necessary steps.
  • File a Claim: Complete the required paperwork for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Your employer should provide you with the necessary forms. Make sure to accurately and thoroughly fill out the forms to avoid delays.
  • Stay Informed: Familiarize yourself with the workers’ compensation process in Buffalo, NY. Understand the timelines, procedures, and potential outcomes, so you can actively participate and make informed decisions.
  • Communication: Maintain open and honest communication with your employer, healthcare providers, and legal representation (if you choose to have one). Transparency helps ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding your recovery and your intention to return to work.
  • Appeals Process: If your claim is denied or if you face challenges in receiving the benefits you’re entitled to, don’t hesitate to engage in the appeals process. This is where having a clear record of documentation becomes invaluable.
  • Stay Positive: Dealing with a work-related injury or illness can be emotionally and physically challenging. Stay positive and focused on your recovery, and seek the support of friends, family, and professionals to help you through the process.

Filing a workers’ compensation claim in Buffalo, NY, should not be a cause for concern when it comes to your employment. The law is on your side, protecting your right to seek compensation for work-related injuries or illnesses without fear of retaliation. Remember that Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner & Gambino, P.C. is here to support you through the process, ensuring your rights are safeguarded and that you receive the benefits you are entitled to. If you’ve been injured at work, don’t hesitate to take action – reach out to a legal professional today to explore your options and secure your future.

Contact Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner & Gambino, P.C. to discuss your workers’ compensation claim and protect your rights. Your well-being and financial security matter and our experienced attorneys are ready to fight for you.

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