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. All too often, employees are afraid of 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’ Comp?
In South Carolina, it is illegal for an employer to fire you while you are on workers’ comp. 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, 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 qualified workers’ compensation attorney can work to resolve the issue appropriately.
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’ comp 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 give notice to your employer of your claim within seven days of being dismissed, and you will need to prove that your injury was a result of your job or workplace conditions.
If you are given another reason for termination but suspect that your workers’ comp claim was the true cause, you should gather evidence to prove it and speak to an attorney right away.
Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Comp?
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 are required to 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 are likely eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim and receive benefits.
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 right away. Schedule a free, 100% confidential consultation with a member of our team by calling us or contacting us online today.