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I was fired after being rear-ended in a company car. Is this legal?

Eugene, OR |

I was hired on by a local wheel and tire shop. After three weeks of working there, I was rear-ended by a lady in a van while I was on the clock making a tire delivery in a company car to our sister store. my back wasn't really hurting at the time but after a couple days, I had shooting pains from my lower back all the way to my arms. I passed a drug/alcohol test and was told to see a doctor and chiropractor which mildly helped. After about a month of therapy, I was cleared to work again lifting no more than 20 pounds for the time being. A week after that, I was terminated on the grounds of "It's simply not working out". Do they have a lawsuit on their hands? I'm a humble person and don't want to threaten to suit them but my back is truly in pain. Am I entitled to any type of settlement?

Attorney Answers 5


If you were terminated due to being on workers comp, then you may have a case. Absent that and discrimination or disability, an employee can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. State laws may vary, but for more general information, you may read about wrongful termination on my website.

The answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is for informational purposes only.

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There are two different issues here. The first is whether the termination was appropriate. As was noted above, Oregon is an at-will employment state. That means that an employee can be fired for any reason or no reason, as long as it's not discriminatory. If you could demonstrate that you were fired for accruing medical costs, then that might entitle you to relief; but that's difficult to prove - employers can always come up with some pretext. However, you could still be entitled to draw unemployment pay, if you can show that the termination was not for good cause.

The second issue is whether you should be covered for your medical costs by worker's compensation, and the answer to that is likely yes. At this point, I would refer you to an employment law attorney, to make sure that your rights are protected. You can call the Oregon State Bar for a free referral at 503-684-3763.

Nothing posted on this site is intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: | Online:

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Retain a workers comp lawyer to help insure that you receive all medical treatment needed.

Please note that we are not forming an attorney - client relationship and the advice is meant to be general. Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky 1616 Walnut Street Suite 2110 Philadelphia, PA 19103

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You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on dealing with many of the issues you are now facing.When you meet with your personal injury attorney,you should also discuss your workers compensation claim against your employer and the possibility that you may have a claim against your employer for retaliation under the workers compensation statutes of your state. The claims against your employer are separate and distinct from your claims against the adverse negligent driver. Speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

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If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

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Since you were injured while on-the-job for your employer, you are entitled to claim benefits under Workers' Compensation and your W/C attorney could ask for a court hearing to argue the nature and extent of your ability to continue working. If you cannot due the kind of work required by the wheel and tire shop, you are entitled to be re-trained to learn to do some other kind of work commensurate with your ability to do it. Your employer may terminate you on any grounds, just like you can quit on any grounds. However, if you are unable to work because of your injury, you should qualify for compensation and re-training benefits.

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