Department of Corrections Officer Settles Workers’ Comp Case for $195,500 in South Carolina
Our recent case highlights the need for Department of Corrections officers to have mental health resources available to them.
Working as an officer in the South Carolina Department of Corrections (DOC) is a thankless and stressful job. They regularly endure verbal and physical assaults including being spit on, have excrement thrown at them, being beaten, and even stabbed.
Our client came to us after being stabbed three times by an inmate while he was working as a corrections department officer in 2018. He was transported to the ER and received stitches for his wounds and was told to follow-up with his physician. The doctor provided by the DOC cleared him to return to work within 3 days of the assault.
Our client was not able to sleep, had severe anxiety and fear. When he told the doctor he was not mentally able to return to work yet, she checked to see if the state would provide any mental health support, but this crucial help was denied, and he was told to seek it on his own. He was physically cleared to return to work.
Still, our client felt unable to return and sought counseling from an outside source. The state did give him 5 sessions but after those sessions, the mental health provider felt that was not enough and refused to clear him for a return to work. Yet, the state was demanding a return to work. Essentially in the eyes of the DOC, physical clearance is the only measure of health.
Our client felt the state did not care about his mental health. He noted that four years later, he is still in counseling for PTSD, taking medication and that he feels for other Department of Corrections workers who do not know that they have options to seek mental health treatment. Many workers return to work after an incident but are mentally not ready and their performance suffers and then they are fired.
Steinberg Law Firm was able to prove he could not return to work and assisted in securing workers’ compensation and treatment for our client after his assault leave and sick leave ran out. Attorney David Pearlman handled his case, which settled for $195,500 in 2021.
If you are a Department of Corrections employee and were injured and are not receiving the support and resources you need to heal, contact the Steinberg Law Firm at 843-720-2800. We offer free consultations, handle cases throughout the state of South Carolina, and our fee is only collected if we secure compensation for you.