I Lost My Job. Does Workers’ Compensation Still Cover Me?

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  2. I Lost My Job. Does Workers’ Compensation Still Cover Me?
I Lost My Job. Does Workers’ Compensation Still Cover Me?

Job loss is something every Oklahoma worker fears. The idea of lifelong job security with the same company has long since ended. Now workers in many states like Oklahoma work diligently each day to make themselves too valuable to lose. But job loss can occur for many reasons; most often from cutbacks, terminations, or the company going out of business.

Does Workers’ Compensation still cover you if you lose your job? Yes and no. Let’s take a closer look.

Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation General Guidelines

The basic tenets of Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation protect employees when they sustain an injury at work. This coverage pays for medical care and replaces some of your wages while you cannot work. Sometimes it provides job retraining or death benefits. Workers’ Compensation coverage does not involve assigning fault or blame when you become injured; you get the benefits regardless of how you were injured, within certain limitations.

This protection covers you while you are employed at a company required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. It is important to understand that it covers work-related illnesses or injuries only. It does not provide protection if you become injured while not on the job. Your basic health coverage handles those injuries.

With that basic explanation, let’s look at why you could lose your job and if Workers’ Compensation still covers you.

Reasons for Possible Job Loss

Oklahoma is an at-will state, meaning you can lose your job for any reason and your employer is not required to provide a reason. Random terminations are not unheard of, but they are rare. Job losses typically occur for a reason.

  1. Company Cutbacks – Businesses always seek ways to cut expenses and improve profits. Unfortunately, this sometimes involves cutting staff. Reduced demand for their products or services can lead to needing fewer workers. Severe economic impacts can force a reduction in employees. Your job loss can be temporary or permanent, depending on the company’s circumstances.
  2. Company Goes Out of Business – Economic realities sometimes force a company to close its doors. The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reveals that only about 30% of new businesses remain solvent after ten years. But longer-standing companies have no guarantee of continued success. Going out of business means all employees lose their jobs.
  3. You are Fired – Terminations happen for everything from poor job performance to violating company rules to personality clashes. You can be fired and permanently lose your job, with or without notice.

Workers’ Compensation and Job Loss

The primary factor determining your Workers’ Compensation status after a job loss is your employment status when you were injured. In short, regardless of what happened to your job after you were injured, if you were employed at the time of the injury, you are covered by Workers’ Compensation until you are able to return to work and your case has been closed. If you require long-term rehabilitation or other benefits, those will continue.

  • If your company cuts staff while you are off on Workers’ Compensation, you retain your benefits. Your employer must demonstrate that you were not included in a staff reduction because you filed a Workers’ Compensation claim.
  • If your company goes out of business while you are injured and receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits, you will receive all the benefits to which you are entitled. The insurance company handles claims and benefits, not your former employer.
  • If you are fired while off on Workers’ Compensation, you retain your benefits. This causes serious problems for your employer. It is against the law for them to fire you relating to Workers’ Compensation.

Being fired for another reason while receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits is possible, but you need an Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Attorney to be sure your rights have not been violated.

Protecting Oklahoma Workers

When you need an Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation lawyer after a job loss, the Armstrong Law Firm, PLC, can help. We provide seasoned, knowledgeable, and compassionate counsel and legal representation for injured Oklahoma workers to help them get the benefits they deserve under the law, even after losing their job.

If you suspect you were terminated because of your Workers’ Compensation claim, call us immediately at (918) 582-2500 or complete the contact form online to request a free consultation.


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