Before workers' compensation laws were enacted, it was very difficult for injured workers to receive compensation after a workplace injury. Often, the injured worker would have to file a lawsuit against their richer employer, and it was up to the worker to convince the court that the employer was negligent and responsible for the worker's damages – this was not an easy task.
As you can imagine, injured workers were easily discouraged from filing lawsuits, especially when they had no way to come up with attorney fees and court filing fees. Sometimes, workers would be afraid that if they sued their employer, they'd never be hired in their town again.
Why Workers Are Afraid to File Claims
Even though today's workers' compensation laws provide valuable protections for workers, that does not change the fact that many workers are afraid to file workers' compensation claims against their employers, especially when they have every intention of "keeping" their jobs after they finish healing.
South Carolina's workers' compensation laws protect workers who are injured on the job. These laws provide compensation for medical bills and lost income, regardless of the worker's degree of fault in the accident. Despite these protections, too many injured workers fail to file claims when they should. Why does this happen?
In our experience, many injured workers are afraid of losing their jobs if they file a workers' compensation claim. They're afraid their employer will lash back and won't let them return to work after they recover. Or, they fear the workers' compensation claim will make it impossible to find work in their town.
Workers' Compensation Laws Protect Injured Workers
While these concerns are understandable, they should not injured workers back from filing workers' compensation claims. The laws are designed to protect workers, not harm them. No worker should let fear of being fired prevent them from filing a workers' compensation claim.
Under South Carolina law, almost every employee, with limited exceptions, is entitled to workers' compensation coverage under the Workers' Compensation Act. In fact, those employers who are covered by the Act must maintain workers' compensation for their employees.
If you're worried that you'll lose your job if you file a workers' compensation, know that your employer cannot legally fire you for filing a workers' compensation claim. It is against the law for employers to fire employees in retaliation for filing a workers' comp claim or for reporting your workplace injury. If an employer does this, it can lead to an employment discrimination lawsuit.
If you are concerned that you'll lose your job if you file a workers' compensation claim, we urge you to contact our firm for a case evaluation with a Columbia workers' compensation attorney.
We would be glad to set your mind at ease by answering your questions – call today!