According to the law in South Carolina, an injured worker has several rights and protections when an injury occurs while on the job. However, the fact that these laws exist is simply not enough to ensure that an employee is truly protected from an employer’s retaliation or wrongdoing after an accident at work. There are times when an employee needs the assistance of an expert workers’ compensation advocate to ensure he or she gets the workers’ compensation benefits in Lake Wylie, South Carolina that he or she is entitled to.
What Rights Do Workers Have to Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Lake Wylie, S.C.?
If you are injured while doing your job in South Carolina, you are entitled to medical care that is covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier as long as your employer regularly employs four or more persons. In South Carolina, you have the right to receive the workers’ compensation benefits due to you for your at-work injury, which will often include payment for:
- Loss of wages for the time you have to take out of work as well as working wage loss if your wages, when you return to work, are lower as a result of working different duties or less hours because of your injury at a rate of 66.6% of your normal wages
- Mileage to and from all your medical appointments and any necessary therapy
- Permanent disability or injury, such as scarring of the legs, arms, or face
- Permanent partial disability for the percentage of disability and impairment you are expected to have for the rest of your like
- Any future medical benefits
- A lump-sum payment for the loss or impairment of a scheduled body part.
What Happens If You Are Fired After Sustaining an Injury at Work?
In the state of South Carolina, you are obligated to report your injury to your employer who must file a report with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. However, it often happens that an employer just outright refuses to acknowledge an employee’s injury and file the relevant report. In fact, you may be instructed to get back to work if you wish to keep your job, or even put some ice on the injury and see if it improves.
Fortunately, there are ways to deal with an employer who does not want to cooperate, but you do need a knowledgeable Lake Wylie workers’ compensation attorney on your side to help fight for the compensation you have been denied.
What Happens If Your Employer Denies Your Workplace Injury?
One of the most common ways employers try to shift responsibility for at-work injuries is to claim that your injury happened because of something you did away from work, or that you had the injury before you were employed. For instance:
- Your employer claims you already suffered injuries to your back before you took the job and thus it should be considered a preexisting medical condition that is not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits
- Your employer claims that the kind of work you do could not have possibly led to repetitive trauma injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, so you must have done something out of work to cause it
- Your employer claims that since there were no witnesses to your accident at work, it simply did not happen in the workplace
Fortunately, these excuses seldom pass. In fact, you don’t need a witness to your accident to get your workers’ compensation benefits. You merely need to report the injury to your supervisor or employer. What’s more, it is not up to the person who employs you to determine that your job might not have caused the injury – that is up to a medical professional.
When it comes to preexisting injuries, if you do have such a condition but it is aggravated by your working conditions, you are entitled to file for workers’ compensation benefits in Lake Wylie, South Carolina.
Has Your SC Employer Tried to Retaliate Against You?
According to S.C. Code Section 41-1-80, workers who suffer an injury on the job are protected from employer retaliation. In other words, your employer may not dismiss you, demote you, or in any other way retaliate against you for filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
But, there are those employers who do try to retaliate. What the law cannot guarantee, though, is that the employer has to keep you if you are no longer able to carry out your job. Once you have reached full medical improvement, an assessment must be made about whether or not your condition allows you to return to ore previous position. If not, you may well be laid off, but the workers’ compensation system should compensate you for your disability in the form of a lump-sum payment.
Contact a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
If you or someone you know has been hurt while at work, a workers’ compensation attorney at Elrod Pope can help to protect your rights. We have extensive experience helping workers who are injured while carrying out their work duties to receive the benefits they are entitled to. We will assist you with submitting your claim with the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission to ensure you get what is rightfully yours for your work-related injury or permanent disability.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.