Filing a claim for workers’ compensation does not affect future employment in South Carolina. If you suffered injuries because of a workplace accident or have another work-related medical condition and need to file a claim for workers’ compensation, you are well within your rights to do so. If you work for a covered employer, you should receive benefits.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim should not affect your future employment, either with the same company or another company. Refusal to hire someone or acting out against someone because of a workers’ compensation claim is illegal.
Retaliation Based on Workers’ Comp Claims Is Illegal in South Carolina
It is against South Carolina law to fire a worker because they suffered injuries on the job and filed a workers’ compensation claim. South Carolina courts would likely consider this retaliation, and the employee might be eligible to reclaim their job and/or recover other damages.
However, it is not illegal to fire a worker for other reasons while they are out of work and drawing workers’ compensation. South Carolina is a “right-to-work” state, which means employers can dismiss workers for almost any reason that is not discriminatory.
When the job in question is with a new employer, it may be possible that they will find out about your workers’ compensation claim. However, a new employer cannot disqualify you for a job simply based on your previous workers’ compensation claim. Even if you have a significant disability related to your claim, a new employer must consider you for the position if you meet the qualifications for the position.
In most cases, a new employer will not be aware of your previous workers’ compensation claim unless you or your previous employer shares this information directly with them since they are not privy to your medical or employment records.
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Refusing Suitable Employment Could Affect Your Benefits
While your workers’ compensation claim should not affect you getting a new job, it is important to note that your job–or refusal of a job offer from your employer–could affect your benefits. Under Section 42-9-190 of the Workers’ Compensation Act, workers in South Carolina will stop receiving workers’ compensation benefits if they refuse suitable employment.
This occurs if:
- Your doctor releases you to return to your job or recommends light-duty work
- Your employer offers a position that is suitable based on the doctor’s recommendations
- You refuse the job
However, there are options to challenge this decision if you do not believe you have recovered from your injuries and are ready to go back to work. For example, if you have other concerns about your health or capacity, you can request a Workers’ Compensation Commissioner evaluate your case and ask for a second opinion from another doctor.
What to Know When Job Hunting on Workers’ Compensation
Before you begin looking for a new job while on workers’ compensation benefits, the first step is to talk to your doctor. You will need to know your limitations and the type of work you can do. Many people seek new jobs while still drawing workers’ compensation benefits if they suffer permanent injuries that make it physically impossible for them to return to their old line of work.
For example, imagine you were a worker in an industrial facility where you regularly lifted large items. A back injury limits the amount you can safely lift to under 25 pounds. While you may not be able to return to your old job, you can work in many other occupations. When applying for and being considered for a position in a new line of work, the injury from your previous job should not be a factor.
In some cases, under the Workers’ Compensation Act in South Carolina, you may be able to continue receiving some of your workers’ compensation benefits even after accepting a new job. Your medical care benefits and treatment related to your injury is covered, and wage loss benefits could still continue. This is possible if your new job pays less than two-thirds of your income from your old position.
Consult a Workers’ Compensation Attorney About Your Case
It is a good idea to speak with a South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer from our firm about your options before you begin to search for a new job. While your claim should not affect getting a new position or starting a new career, your new job could affect your benefits.
At the same time, if you are ready to move forward with your life and your injuries are nearing maximum medical improvement, you may want to consider a settlement with the workers’ compensation attorney. Our law firm can help you by offering support and representation during this process, as well.
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Let Hammack Law Firm Go to Work for You Today
At Hammack Law Firm, our workers’ compensation team will treat you like a member of the family. We can explain your options and the workers’ compensation claims process in a way that is easy for you to understand. We want to make this time as easy for you as possible because we know any added stress only means it will take longer to get your life back to normal.
Let us help you determine your needs, options, and rights. Call us now at (864) 326-3333 for a free case review with a member of our team. We will represent you based on contingency.