Workers’ Compensation can be confusing, with employees often believing myths and misinformation. Some employers use their workers’ ignorance to their advantage, following their misaligned moral compass instead of the law. Bad employers may even misuse sick leave for workers’ comp victims – let us explain.
If you have been hurt at work, it is important to know the facts. Hoffman Law Firm’s experienced Workers’ Comp lawyers can help, making sure you receive the benefits you deserve.
Can My Employer Make Me Use Sick Leave For Workers’ Compensation?
According to federal law, your employer cannot require you to use sick leave while you recover from a workplace accident. While injured workers are legally entitled to medical benefits as well as paid leave, some insurance companies may drag out the claims process or deny the claim so that they are forced to use sick time.
Trusted legal representation is key in these scenarios. Our Workers’ Compensation lawyers will handle all communications with the insurance company to prevent a delay in benefits – and preserve your sick leave.
Common South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Here in the Palmetto State, injured workers are entitled to compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Death benefits
Note: Compensation for lost wages is determined by whether the employee’s disability is partial or total, and temporary or permanent.
6 Common Employee Misconceptions About Workers’ Compensation
With so much confusion surrounding Workers’ Comp benefits, many employees do not know what to believe. Here are some common misconceptions – and the truth behind them!
Misconception #1: You Are Not Entitled To Workers’ Comp If You Are At Fault
Some injured workers mistakenly believe that they are not eligible for benefits if they are responsible for causing the workplace accident. This is completely false! The SC Workers’ Compensation Commission does not take fault into account, meaning that workers can claim benefits even if they are to blame for their accident. There are some exceptions, though. In instances of horseplay, intoxication, and fraud, negligence prevents the employee from receiving Workers’ Comp benefits.
Misconception #2: Your Employer Can Fire You For Filing a Claim
Wrong again. State law prevents employers from firing injured workers in retaliation. In fact, if you were fired for filing a Workers’ Comp claim, you may file a lawsuit against your employer. If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, contact our Workers’ Compensation lawyers for trusted legal advice.
Misconception #3: There is Nothing You Can Do After A Denied Workers’ Comp Claim
This misconception keeps many injured workers from receiving the benefits they deserve. If your accident claim was denied, you may make an appeal to the SC Workers’ Compensation Commission. Our Lowcountry lawyers can help, providing trusted legal representation as you make an appeal.
Here are some valid reasons why your claim may be denied:
- You are not an official employee and do not receive W-2 tax statements.
- It can be proven that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of your accident.
- You injured yourself intentionally.
- You were committing a crime or acting illegally at the time of your injury.
- Your employer has fewer than four employees and is not required to carry Workers’ Comp insurance.
Misconception #4: You Have Two Years To Report Your Workplace Accident
Injured workers have only 90 days to report their on-the-job accident to their employer. The employer then has 10 days to file the Workers’ Compensation claim. If your employer does not file the claim, you may do it yourself using Form 50, available on the SC Workers’ Comp Commission’s website.
While the accident must be reported within 90 days, you have two years to file a claim. Waiting could negatively impact your case though, giving the insurance company the opportunity to say that your accident was not as severe as you claim. That’s why it is best to file your claim immediately after your workplace accident. Remember, missing the deadline means forfeiting your benefits.
Misconception #5: You Can See Any Doctor You Choose During a Workers Compensation Claim
This is not true. You must see the doctor chosen by your employer’s insurance company. If you believe that you did not receive adequate medical care, you may seek a second opinion – but it will not be covered.
Misconception #6: You Can’t Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits and File a Lawsuit for Damages
Workers’ Compensation protects your employer from legal action, but you may file a third-party lawsuit against another liable party. For instance, if defective equipment resulted in an injury, you may file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. If another party is to blame for causing your workplace accident, contact our team for trusted legal advice.
Note: Workers’ Comp benefits cover only your medical expenses and two-thirds of your lost wages, while a third-party lawsuit might also compensate you for pain and suffering and punitive damages.
Misconception #7: You Have To Be Injured On Site to Qualify For Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation benefits are available to employees injured off-site – depending on the situation. For instance, if you were injured in a car accident while on the clock, you are likely eligible for Workers’ Comp benefits.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION QUESTIONS
Can I be dismissed after an accident at work?
No matter what the circumstances, you can’t be fired after an accident at the workplace. If your employer has terminated you due to the accident or because you have started a personal injury claim, it is illegal. They have no right to do so.
What qualifies as wrongful termination in South Carolina?
An employer is not allowed to punish or fire an employee because of their skin color, race, gender, religious beliefs, genealogy, physical or mental disability, where they come from, or if they are pregnant. These are all factors that are protected by law and cannot be used as the basis for any kind of disciplinary action.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a system that offers help to employees who become injured or ill from work-related situations. In South Carolina, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission oversees this program. Therefore, ensuring workers receive the help they need after a work-related injury or illness.
Who is eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Typically, employees who are hurt or become ill while doing work-related tasks qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are some exceptions to this, such as independent contractors and certain farm workers.
What is the difference between sick leave and workers compensation?
If the worker is injured and receiving workers’ compensation payments, they may also be entitled to sick pay, as long as it is higher than the normal workers’ compensation payment. In this situation, the difference between the two amounts would be the sick pay.
Do I get full pay if injured at work?
You have certain rights after being hurt on the job, but your employer is not required to give you your regular salary if you miss work due to illness or injury — even if the accident or materials used on the job were the cause. Still, you have certain rights that you can exercise.
What is the workers comp limit in SC?
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce has confirmed the average weekly wage for the state of South Carolina for the period of July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. Going forward, for any accidents occurring on or after January 1, 2023, the maximum weekly compensation rate will be $1,035.78.
MORE WORKERS’ COMP QUESTIONS? CLICK HERE
SICK LEAVE QUESTIONS
Does South Carolina require paid sick leave?
In South Carolina, employers are not required by law to give their employees sick leave, either paid or unpaid. However, if an employer chooses to provide sick leave, they need to follow the rules of their policy or employment contract. For more information, see SC Dept of Labor FAQs.
What is the sick leave law in South Carolina?
An employee is entitled to up to 15 days of sick leave annually, 10 of which can be used as family sick leave. Consequently, this allows a worker to provide care for their family members during times of illness.
What is the difference between sick leave and disability leave?
Disability leave is different from taking time off for being ill. Disability leave usually means taking time off for something related to a disability, like going to a doctor’s appointment or having a procedure done. Sick leave, however, is when the employee is feeling too sick to work.
Is an accident sick leave?
An “accident” is defined as an unexpected event that arises from an employee’s work and causes them to suffer a personal injury, illness, or death. In relation to this, Section 24 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act explains how sick leave can be applied to occupational accidents and diseases.
How to apply for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If you have been hurt or gotten sick from something that happened at work, it is important to get in touch with your boss right away. Then, your boss will send a request to the company that provides workers’ compensation insurance. When this is approved, you will get the help you need.
What is sick time reimbursement in South Carolina?
Sick time reimbursement is a benefit that some employers provide their employees with. It gives them the chance to get paid for any sick days they haven’t used. This is a great way to make sure they are compensated for days they may have had to take off due to illness.
Who is eligible for sick time reimbursement?
Eligibility for sick time reimbursement can vary between employers. Some businesses may offer reimbursement to all staff members, while others may have specific criteria that must be met. It is important to check with your employer to see what their policies are.
How does sick time reimbursement work?
Employees can build up sick time for every 40 hours worked, usually as one hour for each 40. If the employee doesn’t use the sick time and meets the criteria, they may be eligible for reimbursement of the unused sick time. Additionally, if the requirements are fulfilled, they could receive payment.
MORE QUESTIONS? REACH US DIRECTLY
Need Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Reviewed? Choose Hoffman Law Firm!
If you have been hurt at work, it is crucial to have quality legal representation on your side! It’s risk-free because you only pay us when we take your case – and win!
At Hoffman Law Firm, our Charleston personal injury law firm will advocate on your behalf. Just as we have for countless injured workers across the Lowcountry.
$3,000,000 RECOVERED IN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CASE
Recovered for a worker with under $100,000 in medical bills that was rear-ended by a commercial vehicle.
$1,200,000 RECOVERED IN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CASE
A client suffered a brain injury at work. Case was originally denied, however Hoffman Law Firm managed the case and got the accident victim compensated.
$475,000 RECOVERED IN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CASE
Recovered for a worker that fell through the roof of a building.
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