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What Do I Do If I Got Hurt at Work and They Fired Me?

by | Mar 15, 2024 | Workers' Compensation, Workplace Injuries

Wondering, “What do I do if I got hurt at work and they fired me?” At Katz Leidman Freund & Herman, we understand the complexities and emotional toll this situation can take on workers in New York City. Our team of dedicated workers’ compensation lawyers is here to guide you through this difficult time and help you understand your rights and the next steps you should take.

What Constitutes a Work-Related Injury in NYC?

In New York City, a work-related injury is broadly defined to cover injuries, illnesses, or conditions that an employee suffers as a direct result of their job duties or workplace conditions. This definition encompasses a wide range of situations, reflecting New York’s comprehensive approach to workers’ compensation and employee protection. Here are key aspects that constitute a work-related injury in NYC:

1. Injuries Occurring in the Course of Employment

An injury is considered work-related if it occurs while an employee is performing duties on behalf of their employer or during work hours. This includes injuries sustained while working at the employer’s premises, as well as injuries that occur off-site if the employee was engaged in work-related activities, such as business trips, client visits, or even working from home, depending on the circumstances.

2. Occupational Diseases

Illnesses or conditions that develop over time due to exposure to harmful substances or environments in the workplace are also considered work-related injuries. Common examples include respiratory illnesses from inhaling toxic chemicals, repetitive strain injuries from continuous manual tasks, or hearing loss due to constant exposure to loud noise.

3. Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions

If a pre-existing condition is worsened or aggravated by workplace activities or conditions, this can also be considered a work-related injury. The key factor is that the employment must contribute significantly to the aggravation or acceleration of the condition.

4. Mental and Emotional Injuries

Work-related mental and emotional injuries, such as stress, anxiety, or depression, can also be covered if they can be directly attributed to the work environment or specific incidents at work. These cases can be more challenging to prove but are recognized under New York’s workers’ compensation laws.


It’s important to note that not all injuries that occur during work hours are automatically considered work-related. Injuries that happen because an employee is intoxicated, engaging in illegal activities, or involved in self-inflicted harm, for example, may not be covered under workers’ compensation in New York.

Is it Legal If I Got Injured At Work and They Fired Me?

In New York, it is generally illegal for an employer to terminate an employee solely for filing a workers’ compensation claim. New York law protects employees from retaliation for seeking workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury. If you’ve been injured on the job and then fired, it might constitute illegal retaliation, and you could have grounds to take legal action against your employer.

Key Points for New York Workers:

  • Workers’ Compensation: If you’re injured at work, you’re entitled to file for workers’ compensation, which provides medical coverage and a portion of your lost wages.
  • Retaliation is Prohibited: New York law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who file workers’ compensation claims. Termination under these circumstances can be challenged legally.
  • Legal Protection: Employees are protected under state and federal laws from being fired for discriminatory reasons or as retaliation for exercising their rights, such as filing for workers’ compensation.
  • Seek Legal Advice: If you believe your termination was wrongful, especially if it was due to filing a workers’ compensation claim, consult with a New York employment lawyer to explore your options and rights.

Remember, each case is unique. It’s important to consult with a legal professional to understand your specific situation and the best course of action.

What Do I Do If I Got Hurt at Work and They Fired Me?

If you were injured at work and then fired in New York, it’s essential to take immediate and informed actions to protect your rights. Here’s a concise guide on what to do:

Immediate Steps

  • Don’t Sign Anything from your employer regarding your termination without consulting your lawyer.
  • Stay Off Social Media regarding your injury, termination, or any aspect of your case.
  • Follow Up on your medical treatment and comply with all prescribed care for your injury.

Document Everything

Keep detailed records of your injury, any medical treatment, communications with your employer about your injury and termination, and any other relevant information. This documentation will be crucial for any legal action or claim you decide to pursue.

File a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Regardless of your employment status, if you were injured at work, you are generally entitled to file for workers’ compensation in New York. This provides benefits for medical care and a portion of your lost wages due to the injury.

Consult with a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Seeking advice from a lawyer who specializes in workers’ compensation and employment law in New York can provide you with guidance and help you understand your rights and options. They can assess if your termination was in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim, which is illegal.

Consider a Wrongful Termination Claim

If you believe your termination was because you filed for workers’ compensation or due to discrimination, you might have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit. An attorney can help evaluate your case and advise on the feasibility of pursuing legal action.

File a Complaint, If Necessary

Based on your attorney’s advice, you might file a complaint with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board or the appropriate state or federal agency. This step is vital if you’re pursuing a claim for wrongful termination or retaliation.

Can I Sue My Employer If They Fired Me After I Got Injured At Work?

In New York, if you were fired after getting injured at work, you might be able to sue your employer under certain circumstances. However, the specifics of your case, including the reasons for your termination and the nature of your injury, are crucial in determining your legal options.

Workers’ Compensation as the Primary Remedy

Workers’ compensation is typically the primary avenue for compensation for workplace injuries in New York. This system is designed to provide benefits to injured workers regardless of fault, covering medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. Because of workers’ compensation laws, you generally cannot sue your employer for injuries sustained on the job.

Exceptions and Grounds for a Lawsuit

However, there are exceptions and situations where you might have a legal claim outside of workers’ compensation:

  • Retaliation: If your employer fired you because you filed a workers’ compensation claim, this could be considered illegal retaliation. New York law protects workers from being retaliated against for exercising their rights under workers’ compensation laws.
  • Discrimination: If your termination was based on discriminatory reasons, such as your race, gender, disability, or another protected characteristic, you might have a discrimination claim under federal or state laws.
  • Violation of Specific Laws: Certain laws provide additional protections. For example, if you were fired without accommodation for a disability related to your injury, you might have a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or New York State laws.

How a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help

 I Got Hurt at Work and They Fired Me

At Katz Leidman Freund & Herman in NYC, we stand as a pillar of support for workers who have sustained injuries on the job. Our firm is deeply committed to ensuring that you are not only heard but also compensated and supported through every phase of your recovery process. Here’s how our expert team of workers’ compensation attorneys can assist you:

Experienced Navigation Through the Claims Process

The journey through New York State’s Workers’ Compensation system is often complex and confusing. Our seasoned attorneys simplify this process, guiding you meticulously from the initial filing of your claim to the securing of your benefits. We ensure that every document is accurately completed and submitted in a timely manner, advocating for your rights at every turn.

Securing Maximum Entitlements

Determining the full spectrum of benefits you’re entitled to can be overwhelming. Katz Leidman Freund & Herman will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your case, aiming to secure all the benefits you’re entitled to under New York law. This includes medical expenses, wage replacement, and compensation for any permanent disabilities. Our goal is to maximize the benefits you receive, providing you with the financial support necessary for your recovery.

Advocacy in Disputes

Disputes with employers or insurance providers are unfortunately common. Whether your claim has been unjustly denied, the extent of your injuries is under dispute, or there are disagreements regarding your return to work, our skilled attorneys are prepared to advocate on your behalf. With extensive experience in negotiation and litigation, we are ready to aggressively defend your rights in hearings or appeals.

Protection Against Retaliation

New York law protects employees from being retaliated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you’ve been the target of retaliatory actions by your employer, Katz Leidman Freund & Herman is here to protect your rights. We can advise on the best course of action and, if necessary, pursue legal avenues to address any injustices you’ve faced, ensuring you are compensated for such retaliation.

Personalized Legal Counsel

We understand that no two injuries or cases are alike. Our approach is to offer personalized, tailored legal advice that addresses the nuances of your situation. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Katz Leidman Freund & Herman dedicate time to understanding the specifics of your case, providing clear, comprehensible counsel every step of the way. We commit to making your legal journey as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

Injured at Work an Then Fired? Let Us Help You Navigate Your Next Steps

If you’ve suffered a work-related injury in NYC and were fired, you don’t have to face the aftermath alone. Katz Leidman Freund & Herman is here to ensure that you understand your rights and receive the full range of benefits you’re entitled to. Our experienced team of workers’ compensation lawyers have experience in helping injured workers like you navigate the complexities of the claims process, fight for your rights, and secure the compensation you deserve.

Don’t let confusion or uncertainty prevent you from getting the support you need. Contact us today for a consultation, and let’s take the first step towards your recovery together.