Can I Sue My Employer If I Get Hurt at Work? | 1.20.2021

Every state has different workers’ compensation laws and coverage. In South Carolina, like many other states, the workers’ compensation system is a “no-fault system.” This means that employees are not required to prove that their workplace injury or illness was caused by their employer’s negligence in order to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Rather than suing your employer in a traditional civil court action, South Carolina workers file a workers’ compensation claim requesting benefits. This is usually the only way you can take legal action against your employer with regard to a workplace injury or illness.

Statutory laws protect South Carolina employers by making workers’ compensation the exclusive remedy for employees, so instead of bringing suit against an employer after an injury sustained on the job, the injured worker files a workers’ compensation claim. That being said, there are some cases in which an employee can bring suit against third parties such as product manufacturers, contractors, or other vendors after a workplace injury or illness. While it is possible to handle your South Carolina workers’ compensation claim on your own, we recommend discussing your case with a workers’ compensation lawyer by scheduling a free consultation in order to fully evaluate your rights.

Who Pays Your Workers’ Compensation?

In South Carolina, businesses with four or more employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. In most cases, the insurance carrier is responsible for paying your compensation, not your employer.

Suing After Getting Hurt at Work in South Carolina

It’s very rare to qualify to file a lawsuit against your employer in SC outside of the workers’ compensation system. However, there may be a cause to file a lawsuit against third parties contributing to your workplace injury. Third parties that may be held liable include:

  • Product manufacturers
  • Independent contractors
  • Outside vendors
  • Utility companies
  • At-fault drivers

Third-party claims are filed against someone other than your employer. They can help injured individuals recover benefits outside of what is obtained through your South Carolina workers’ compensation benefits. To see if you have a case against a third-party, speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney today by calling (803) 888-2200 or scheduling a free consultation with our award-winning attorneys.

How Long Do I Have to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

You must report the incident and notify your employer within 90 days if you’re injured on the job in SC. However, you have up to two years to file a claim.

What Does South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Cover?

South Carolina workers’ compensation may cover the medical expenses needed to treat your injury or illness, temporary disability compensation if you’re unable to return to work for at least a week due to the injury or illness, and compensation for a permanent disability sustained from the accident. If you have any questions, please contact our office at (803) 888-2200 to see how we can help.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

There are many regulations under SC law that employees outside of the legal space wouldn’t know or understand. Although it is recommended that you speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer immediately after a work-place injury, you should still seriously consider hiring an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer if:

  1. Your employer or its insurance company is giving you trouble during the compensation process.
  2. You’re unable to return to work for a period of time due to a work-related injury or illness.
  3. If you face any sort of retaliation from your employer or boss after filing a workers’ compensation claim.
  4. You’re having trouble getting the treatment you need.
  5. You have or plan to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance, or you receive other government benefits that could be affected by your workers’ compensation claim.

While it’s not impossible to file a claim and go through the process on your own, it may not be in your best interest. You should at least speak with a workers’ compensation attorney in your state to walk you through your options, tell you what you can expect, and explain what you’re entitled to under state law. If your work-related injury or illness occurred in South Carolina, our workers’ compensation attorneys can review your case, explain your options, and let you know how we can help during your free consultation. This consultation in no way binds you to our services. Schedule yours today by calling (803) 888-2200 or via our website here.

How Much Does a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Cost?

Please note that workers’ compensation lawyers do not charge hourly rates; instead, these types of lawyers typically work on a contingency basis which is a percentage of the compensation recovered. If you have any additional questions on the cost of hiring a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney, please give us a call at (803) 888-2200.

Disclaimer: The opinions and ideas in this article are for informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice. Each case is different and must be evaluated based on its own particular facts and merits. This article in no way creates an attorney-client relationship with the reader.

If you have any other questions or need an out-of-state referral, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on important news.

Did you learn something from this post? Check out our other posts on When to Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer – 5 Signs or  “Am I Covered If I’m Injured on the Job While Working from Home?

About the Author:

SC Workers' Comp Attorney

Nicholas J. Skorzewski focuses on advocating for his clients after they have been injured on the job. Nick is a 2020 Legal Elite of the Midlands award recipient and has handled numerous workers’ compensation matters from the initial notice of injury up until settlement or trial. He applies his experience gained from representing insurance companies in workers’ comp matters to help injured workers who are being treated unfairly by insurance carriers or employers and need help evaluating their options after an on-the-job injury.

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