I am about to settle my workers compensation case from when I was hurt on the job. I accepted the settlement amount but was also informed that I will be ineligible for unemployment and will have to resign. I am also pregnant. I want to know if I will in fact be ineligible for unemployment compensation
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
No, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits if you resigned from your job as part of your workers' compensation settlement. See the recent Commonwealth Court decision issued last week at http://www.pacourts.us/OpPosting/Cwealth/out/2085CD10_12-21-11.pdf
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
I agree with Ronald for the most part, but would also stress that this case is very fact specific. The employer still had work available for the injured worker and the employer did not want the resignation as part of the agreement. I am not saying that you will be entitled to unemployment, but if the resignation is clear that the employer is requiring the resignation as part of the workers' compensation settlement, and work within your restrictions is not available, unemployment still may be a possibility. I would suggest that you review this case with your lawyer and see what he/she suggests.
Timothy D. Belt, Esquire Helping injured workers in Northeast Pennsylvania. firstname.lastname@example.org www.belt-law.com DISCLAIMER: This post is intended as general information applicable only to the state of Pennsylvania. The information given is based strictly upon the facts provided. This post is not intended to create an attorney client relationship, or to provide any specific guarantee of confidentiality.
Employment / Labor Attorney
Great question. Obviously you need to talk to a lawyer right away BEFORE you settle the case. Without knowing more specifics about your case it is hard to give you an accurate answer. But in general, injured workers are sometimes allowed to collect unemployment benefits after they settle a workers' compensation case in Pennsylvania depending on what they sign and agree to in the settlement. You will be given a complicated form to sign call a compromise and release agreement. It is difficult to understand and it uses some words that are not used everyday (like "compromise" and "release" for starters).
If you resign from your job, and then settle the case, then there is a good chance that the unemployment compensation referee will say that you resigned and you are not allowed to colect unemployment. However, there is a specific section of the unemployment statute that says it is illegal for the employer to make you agree to not try to collect unemployment in the future. But usually the employer's attorney is on the ball and will force you to resign in order to settle your workers' compensation case.
If you are doing this settlement on your own, your are taking a big chance! There are other things to worry about. Are you getting social security or Medicare benefits? Are they are any pension issues? Are there any child or spousal support issues? Are you settling both your right to wage loss benefits AND medical benefits? Are there any unpaid medical bills, and if so, who will pay for them? There are many other issues that you might want to ask about. If you have a lawyer that handles a lot of workers compensation cases then you will probably be okay, but the question itself concerns me because someone does not seem to be giving you all of the answers about your settlement.
You will need to go to a hearing and testify that you understand the settlement. But the Judge will not give you any advice about whether it is a good setlement or a bad settlement. S/he will just make sure your understand it, and then will probably approve the settlement. It is up to your attorney to protect you and your family and make sure that this is a good deal for you. If you don't have a lawyer get one immediatley before you do anything else. If you do have a lawyer, then you should be asking your lawyer to explain this area of the law, and you really should not be looking for advice on the internet from people you have nevetr met, and really have no idea about you or the specifics of your case.
Best of luck to you and your family. I hope everything works out for you.
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
When an employer requires resignation in conjunction with a workers compensation settlement, they will usually require you to sign a resignation and release at the time of the hearing. This document will generally require you to waive your right to UC. However many carriers and employers will consider dropping your waiver of UC during the negotiation process, so certainly one can negotiate both a lump sum and the right to file for UC thereafter.
Personal Injury Lawyer
There has been some discussion that this case is fact specific. The truth is that almost all cases are fact specific!!! Having said that, if you agree to resign as part of your C & R resolution of your workers' compensation case, you will be deemed ineligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits under section 402 (b) of the Unemployment Compensation Law as per the case cited by Mr. Calhoon. Generally, in and of itself, an agreement to waive your right to unemployment benefits would be invalid under section 701 of this statute. An agreement to resign as consideration for a C & R settlement of a workers' compensation case does not fall under the protection of section 701. The court squarely held that where a claimant agrees to execute a resignation/release in order to settle a workers' compensation claim, this agreement voluntarily terminates the employment without a reason of necessitous and compelling cause.
You can learn more about me by clicking on my Avvo profile. Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice. It is merely intended to provide general information to aid the poster in finding answers to the problem posed. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. In most cases, it is best to contact an attorney directly to find answers to your problems.