On-the-job illnesses and injuries are common and occur in all different types of occupations. South Carolina workers' compensation law protects injured workers. It provides a system for injured employees to receive medical benefits and other benefits while recovering from a work injury.
However, some employees are afraid to file a workers' compensation claim because of employer retaliation. They fear that they will be fired if they file for workers comp benefits. Sadly, some employees may take vacation or sick time and pay for medical bills out of their own pocket because they do not want to lose their job by filing a workers' compensation claim.
What Does South Carolina Workers Compensation Law Say About Employer Retaliation?
South Carolina Code of Laws §40-1-80 speaks directly to employer retaliation for filing workers' comp claims. It states that an employer cannot demote or discharge a worker because that worker filed a proceeding under the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Law. It also protects an employee from being fired who is about to testify or has testified in a workers' compensation proceeding.
An employer who fires an employee for filing a claim for workers comp benefits can be held liable in civil court. The employer could be ordered to compensate the employee for the loss of income caused by the employer's violation of workers comp laws. Additionally, an employee fired in violation of the workers' compensation law has the right to be reinstated.
The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against the employer under this code section is one year.
What Happens if I Cannot Work After an Injury?
While you are out of work because of a work-related injury, your employer is required to pay temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. Employees receive TTD benefits when an employee cannot perform any job duties because of the injury.
In some cases, the employer may be able to place you on "light duty." Light duty is the term used to describe modified work duties. The employer cannot require you to perform any duties that do not comply with your medical provider's work restrictions.
If you are placed on light duty, you may receive temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. TPD benefits are paid when you earn less than your full pay because you are on modified work restrictions.
When your medical provider releases you to return to work, your employer should place you in the same position earning the same level of pay. If your employer demotes or fires you when you return to work, you should talk to a Myrtle Beach workers' compensation lawyer immediately to review your options for suing your employer for violating workers' compensation laws.
Contact Our Myrtle Beach Workers Comp Attorneys for a Free Consultation
Workers' compensation law protects you when you are injured on the job. The process of receiving workers' comp benefits should be straightforward. However, some employers and insurance providers make it difficult for an employee to file a claim. Some companies may intimidate employees and deny valid claims.
If you have questions about a workers' compensation claim, contact our office for a free consultation with a workers' compensation lawyer in Myrtle Beach.