Will I Lose My Job if I File for Workers’ Compensation in SC?
When someone is hurt in a workplace accident or is diagnosed with an occupational illness, South Carolina law protects them from retaliation or termination by their employer. Employees often fear the consequences of reporting a workplace injury and seeking the workers’ compensation benefits they are entitled to.
Injured workers shouldn’t be afraid to claim these important benefits, however. They should be aware that their employer could be penalized for any adverse action taken against an employee who has filed a valid workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina.
Can I Be Fired While Out on Workers’ Compensation?
In South Carolina, it is illegal for an employer to fire you while you are on workers’ compensation. Employers must keep injured workers on staff through the period granted for a workers’ compensation claim, so they can have the time they need for medical treatment and recovery.
Once a doctor certifies that the employee can return to work based on their medical improvement, the employer is required to do everything that they can to return the injured worker to their position. This includes making reasonable adjustments to the worker’s schedule, working conditions, and responsibilities.
It is not uncommon for a dispute to arise about whether the injured worker is ready to return to work. In these situations, a workers’ compensation attorney from our firm can work to resolve the issue appropriately. We can handle communications with your employer’s insurance company and your doctor so that they stay on the same page.
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What If I Get Fired While Filing for Workers’ Compensation?
All employers in the state should be aware that it is illegal to fire an employee because they file for workers’ compensation. However, if you were fired for any reason while making a workers’ compensation claim—or before you have a chance to file your claim—you still have a right to make a claim for benefits.
You will need to notify your employer of your claim within seven days of being dismissed, and you will need to prove that your injury resulted from your job or workplace conditions.
If you are given another reason for termination but suspect that your workers’ compensation claim was the true cause, you should gather evidence to prove it and speak to an attorney immediately.
Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
If you are injured on the job in South Carolina, you can file a workers’ compensation claim if you meet the following criteria:
- Your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance (most South Carolina companies must do this by state law).
- The company employs you.
- Your injury occurred on the job or due to workplace conditions.
If you meet these three requirements, you can likely file a workers’ compensation claim and receive benefits. Our workers’ compensation lawyers can help you through the process.
What Benefits Can I Seek in a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Medical care may not be the only thing you need after a workplace injury. If your injuries keep you out of work, this loss of income can cause a dire financial situation for you and your family.
Along with medical benefits, you can also seek benefits for your lost income while you are out of work. If you qualify, you can receive a portion of your weekly wages. If you return to work but can only perform light-duty work, you may still qualify for wage benefits. You may also qualify for vocational rehabilitation.
When you work with a workers’ compensation lawyer from our firm, they can review your case and determine which benefits apply to your work-related injury. We understand how important your workers’ compensation benefits are, so we want to ensure we seek what you deserve.
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How Long After an Injury Should I File for Workers’ Compensation?
If you are injured on the job, you should file for workers’ compensation as soon as possible to receive the benefits you need for medical treatment and to recover from your injury. Delaying your claim could affect your ability to receive benefits. You should report it immediately to your employer.
If you have questions about how to file or if your employer has taken adverse actions against you, contact our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Schiller & Hamilton immediately. Get a free, confidential consultation with a member of our team by calling us or contacting us online today.