How to collect money for a work injury after being fired?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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How to collect money for a work injury after being fired?

I was working at a municipal office when my desk collapsed and fell on my knee. I went to hospital and they said I had a bad contusion. The HR for the company stated I did not need to take a drug and alcohol test but just needed to make sure knee was OK. Upon being discharged it was told that I need to go back in through emergency room and it get tested. I told HR I would do it but I am only there part-time and I have to get my kids and I would come back and she told me that because I had to go she would look at employee handbook and call back 3 days later and said I was fired.

Asked on October 21, 2019 under Personal Injury, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your question implies that you are looking to sue the former employer, not apply for for workers compenation (since you mention you spoke to a worker's comp attorney, but he could not help you). That being the case, you in fact file a lawsuit: in the lawsuit, to recover compensation, you'd need to prove that the employer was at fault in some way, such as that they knew the desk was in bad shape or not secure but failed to correc the situation. If they were not at fault--for example, they had no reason to know the desk posed a threat--they would not be liable.
Similarly, to recover for wrongful termination, you'd have to sue and prove that in this case, they had no right to fire you when or for the reason they did--which may be difficult, since unless you had a written employment contract protecting your job, you were an "employee at will" and could be terminated at pretty much any time, for pretty much any reason.
The reason why the other lawyer suggested you needed a "municipal lawyer" is that there are special rules for suing municipalities, and most lawyers are not familiar with them.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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