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Termination & Workers’ Compensation: What If You Get Terminated Before You File a Claim?

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Anytime an injured worker is terminated from his or her employment, the reasons and circumstances are fairly significant. Although workers’ compensation law is not employment law, there is slight “cross-over” if the injured worker is terminated, especially if he or she did not have the chance to file for workers’ compensation benefits.

When an injured worker is terminated from his or her job and files a workers’ compensation claim after being terminated, the law presumes that the entire claim is invalid. Specifically, if an injured worker files a notice of an injury pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. 616C.015 (which requires notice to the employer within seven (7) days) after his or her employment has been terminated for any reason, there is a rebuttable presumption that the injury did not arise out of and in the course of his or her employment. NRS 616C.150(2). In the case of the injured worker being terminated, the injured worker must prove that the injury did not occur after the worker was terminated. Law Offices of Barry Levinson v. Milko, 124 Nev. 355, 184 P.3d 378 (2008).

What this means is that if an injured worker attempts to file a claim after being terminated – for any reason – the law is going to begin with the stance that the claim is not valid. However, the injured worker does get the opportunity to explain or argue why the claim should be valid, making it a rebuttable presumption. Under the definitions of the law, rebuttable presumptions essentially mean that you start in the negative when you walk in to court, but that the court gives you the opportunity to prove otherwise. The injured worker would need to provide to the court documented medical evidence regarding the timeline. The injured worker would also need to establish by medical reporting that the injury predated termination. Lastly, the worker attempting to gain workers’ compensation benefits would also likely at some point have to provide testimony as to why the claim was filed after termination.

All of these circumstances may feel like significant legal challenges to overcome at the beginning of a case but it is important to realize that they are not insurmountable. Injured workers have the right to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney regarding such a situation, and they are highly encouraged to exercise that right. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer will not only be able to give guidance from start to finish for this process, but also all other laws associated with work injuries.

If you were injured in Nevada while performing a job-related duty, our Las Vegas workers’ compensation attorneys can help you fight for justice and deserved benefits. Call 702-570-0000 or contact Shook & Stone online to discover what our 85+ years of collective legal experience can do for your case.

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