If you have been injured on-the-job in Charleston, there is an exclusive remedy system in place referred to as workers’ compensation and this is the only way an injured worker is permitted to file a lawsuit against an employer. There are some exceptions to this rule. However, in general, a worker cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against an employer or even pursue a claim outside of the workers’ compensation system.
What is important to understand is that even though the state’s workers’ compensation system does not allow an injured employee to file a lawsuit against an employer, that same injured worker may file a claim against third parties, such as other contractors on the worksite. In other words, they may file suit against another person or entity that is not their direct employer. A third-party claim allows an injured victim or their family members to get their case into the court system and to seek compensation not under state workers’ compensation laws.
When it comes to work-related injuries, an employee does not have to prove negligence, meaning employers are virtually always liable/responsible for work-related injuries. If an injury happens while a worker was doing their job/work duties, workers’ compensation insurance must pay benefits to the employee.
In Charleston, you are generally able to pursue a lawsuit against a third party responsible for causing your injuries, while also pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. However, it is vitally important to consult with an experienced workplace injury attorney and have your claim assessed to make sure you do not do something that ends up terminating your benefits. There are certain rules and regulations to be followed within and without the system and if they are not followed, it could jeopardize a worker’s benefits.
The downside of the workers’ compensation system is that there are rules that limit a worker’s rights. For instance, a worker may not sue his or her employer for an injury. With few exceptions, he or she must file a claim under the workers’ compensation system. Another potential downside is that benefits are limited under the system and may not be as all-inclusive as damages/compensation possibly attainable by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
If a worker dies on-the-job, surviving family members are unable to file a wrongful death lawsuit action against the employer. Instead, by law, the family receives designated benefits under workers’ compensation system. Payments usually include funeral and burial costs, but do not include compensation for grief and sorrow or loss of companionship. Thanks to these and other limitations in the workers’ compensation system, a number of injured workers or their family members consider filing a third-party workplace injury claim.
Third parties who may be liable for on-the-job injuries may include:
Workers’ compensation in Charleston applies to all places of business with four or more workers, full or part time. The exceptions to this rule are for:
Make certain you know what your job classification is where you work, as some employers misclassify workers to avoid paying workers’ compensation claims. You need to know whether you are classified as volunteer, an employee or considered to be an independent contractor. Your classification affects whether or not you are eligible for workers’ compensation if you are injured at work.
To find out how our experienced attorneys can fight for you and your family following a workplace injury accident, call the Steinberg Law Firm, LLP, at 843-720-2800 for a FREE case review. We serve Charleston, Goose Creek, Summerville and surrounding areas.