How your workers’ compensation case is settled will affect your pending or future wrongful termination claims against your employer.
It’s important that your workers attorney and wrongful termination attorney work closely together so as to maximize the value of both of your cases.
Often the settlement of the workers’ comp claim by Compromise & Release, contains language inserted by the comp insurance company attorney which dismisses all claims including those which you may have against the employer for retaliation, hostile work environment, wrongful termination, and so on. You should NEVER sign away your civil rights in a workers’ comp settlement (unless the employer is willing to pay you substantial additional money in exchange for your signature).
Defense attorneys often try to slip in this language, and often applicant attorneys and even judges overlook the fact that you, the applicant, is signing away valuable rights that you shouldn’t be.
Remember if you have a good claim against your employer for wrongful termination, or some other civil wrong, read your settlement documents carefully!
It’s also a good idea to insert language into your workers’ comp settlement which states something to the effect of: “The parties agree that this Compromise & Release does not settle any civil causes of action that the applicant has, or which the applicant may have in the future, against the employer herein.”
Remember it’s routine that employers insert language deep within the workers’ comp settlement documents that can damage or preclude you from succeeding with your separate employment law claims that you may have against your employer. Your employment law claims are often more valuable than your workers’ comp settlement. So you must be vigilant about protecting your rights and not just blindly signing without reading the small print.