Before you pursue a workers’ compensation claim against your employer in South Carolina, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with how the process works. It can be complicated in certain situations, and many injured employees do not even realize the rights they have. Here are six important things to know about workers’ compensation claims in South Carolina.
1. You Cannot Be Fired for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Some employees may be hesitant to file a claim for fear of retaliation. State law prohibits an employer from firing someone in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. In the event your employer does fire you, you can pursue a case in civil court for wrongful termination.
2. You May be Required to Accept Light Duty Work
If your workers’ compensation doctor releases you with approval to handle light duty work, you do have to accept it if your employer offers it, otherwise, you will not be eligible for continued workers’ compensation benefits.
3. Workers’ Compensation Doesn’t Cover from Day One in Most Cases
If you file a workers’ compensation claim, you are not eligible to receive compensation unless you’re unable to work for more than seven days. In the event you are unable to work past that, workers compensation will apply. If you are out of work for more than 14 days, then workers’ compensation will apply from the date of the accident.
4. There May be Times You Can File a Civil Suit in Addition to Workers’ Compensation
This situation is a unique one, but if someone other than your boss or a co-worker caused your injury, you may have a cause of action for a civil case in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. These are situations where a third party’s negligence, recklessness, or even intentional behavior caused the injury. For example, a freelance contractor visiting the site created a hazard that caused the injury. There may be the opportunity to pursue two different cases, which also means you can collect pain and suffering under the civil action.
5. If You Disagree or Were Denied Benefits, You Can Appeal
Some employees don’t realize that they can file an appeal if benefits were denied or you disagree with the decision. The Workers’ Compensation Commission helps oversee workers’ compensation claims in the state and will hold a hearing in the event an employee or employer contests a workers’ compensation award.
6. Your Company (or Boss) is Not Usually the One Paying Your Claim
There is a common misconception that when you make a workers’ compensation claim, your employer is the one making the payout. That is typically incorrect. Most employers have insurance that covers these types of situations, so the workers’ compensation carrier is the one making the payments. There are some instances where employers opt to cover workers’ compensation injuries directly, but most companies utilize workers’ compensation insurance so the process is handled by specialists.
Retaining a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have a complex workers’ compensation case, or you need to file an appeal, it’s important to talk to an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney. Elrod Pope Law Firm focuses on and has years of experience with, workers’ compensation matters. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment and let us answer all your workers’ compensation- related questions.