No Longer Employed: How To Handle Accident Claims From Former Jobs

Some workers lose their jobs before they can deal with a workplace injury. Read on to find out what might happen if you are fired or resign from your job after an injury or illness has affected you.

When Did the Injury Happen?

You may be able to get workers' compensation for an injury or illness even if you are no longer employed there, but the situation can vary. In all cases, your injury must be related closely to the work you were doing. That includes the following situations:

  • During the course of a usual work day (not including lunch breaks).
  • During time spent at an off-site training event, meeting, conference, etc.
  • During any business travel occasions with coverage from the time you leave your home till you return.
  • Any time while driving in a company vehicle.
  • During some recreational or social gatherings, depending on the circumstances.

Why Did You Delay Filing a Claim?

In most cases, workers must file a claim with the workers' comp insurer as soon as they can. That usually means within a few days of an injury. Some states have 30 day limits, however. The longer you wait to file a claim, the greater the likelihood of problems cropping up with your claim. Waiting to file only makes the insurer question the validity of your claim. If you are no longer employed and your filing was late, you should be prepared to show good cause for the delay. Late filers might also be subject to allegations of the injury or illness not being work-related.

Injuries or Illnesses That Come Up Later

You might not realize that you have a work-related issue until later on after you are no longer employed. Some medical conditions are caused by work but may not be noticeable or might not become serious until later. For example, some workers are accustomed to taking pain relief to get through the work day. After they quit the job, they may begin to notice just how bad their condition is. Other injuries worsen slowly and gradually over time, which could result in an injury that seemed manageable until it wasn't.

Get Your Claim Filed No Matter What

Regardless of what you are told by the employer or the insurer, make every effort to file your claim as soon as you can. Contact the state workers' compensation board if you have problems accessing claim forms or if you encounter other problems. If issues persist, talk to a workers' compensation lawyer for help. You deserve benefits no matter what your current employment status is.