Under South Carolina’s
workers’ compensation laws, the vast majority of employees are covered by their employer’s
workers’ compensation insurance; there are only a few limited exceptions.
As long as an employee’s injury did not occur while the employee
was under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, and as long as the
injury didn’t arise from an intentional, harmful act to injure someone
else, the worker should be covered by workers’ compensation.
Are You Afraid of Being Fired?
In our experience, even though injured workers may be eligible for workers’
compensation and fully entitled to these
valuable benefits, many of them choose not to file a claim because they’re afraid
their employers will fire them, or they’re afraid they won’t
be able to find work elsewhere because they’ll be “stigmatized.”
Can an employer fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
While most employment is “at-will employment,” meaning an
employer can fire an employee at any time, it’s illegal for employers
to fire workers for filing workers’ compensation claims.
If an employer fires an employee because they
file a workers’ compensation claim, the employer can be subject to an
employment discrimination lawsuit, and most employers know this.
So, if your employer fires you shortly after you file a workers’
compensation claim and you suspect it’s because of discrimination,
you should immediately start gathering evidence to substantiate your suspicions.
What You Need to Know About Medical Improvement
Employers are legally required to keep employees on while their injured
workers are receiving workers’ compensation. In fact, employers
are required to keep employees until they have fully recovered from their
injuries, or until they have reached the “maximum medical improvement”
for a specific injury or disability.
Maximum medical improvement, otherwise known as MM, describes the point
where a condition related to a workplace injury is not expected to improve
any further with treatment. If you’d like to learn more about returning
back to work after a workplace injury, feel free to reach out to our firm.
If you’re afraid you’ll lose your job if you file a workers’
compensation claim – don’t be. For the full legal support
contact our Columbia workers’ compensation firm today!