It is against the law in South Carolina for an employer to fire an employee because they got hurt or filed a workers’ compensation claim. While it only happens rarely, sometimes employers break the law – and when they do, we can sue them! However, your employer may have also fired you or you were laid off for reasons not related to your workers’ compensation claim. Layoffs are often due to budget cuts or unforeseen economic downturns.
While your future employment is one of your biggest concerns, you may also be concerned about the future of your workers’ compensation benefits. Will you continue to receive your checks if you are still eligible for benefits?
This situation can be very complicated, which is why talking to a qualified lawyer could be an important step. The workers’ compensation lawyers at Lee Injury Law can review the details of your situation in a case review at no cost to you.
What Happens After Being Fired or Laid Off?
Generally, if you were already receiving benefits when you were fired or laid off, you will continue receiving them. You were injured while working and approved for benefits while you still had a job.
However, if you were fired for cause, such as a disciplinary issue, you may lose your benefits. You may also lose your benefits if your doctor determined you were fully recovered before you were fired. Even if you were not fired, your benefits would likely have stopped anyway.
Your layoff may coincide with your employer going out of business or filing for bankruptcy. However, this should not affect your benefits, as they are paid by your former employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. That said, if the insurance company begins having financial troubles, it is possible you may stop receiving benefits as a result.
While there are exceptions, many employees are hired on an at-will basis. That means employers can fire them for a reason or for no reason at all. A company could simply restructure and eliminate your position and there is nothing you can do about it. However, if you are receiving worker’s comp benefits those would probably still continue.
If you are under contract, the contract may list acceptable reasons for firing you. If they fire you for some other reason, you may have a claim for breach of contract.
Unfortunately, your employer does not have to hold your job open for you. If your job is essential to the functioning of the company and your employer needs someone else to do the work, your employer has the right to replace you. That may mean your job is gone by the time you are physically able to return to work.
- Can I Be Terminated for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
It is illegal for an employer to fire you simply for filing a workers’ compensation claim, which means your employer must provide another justifiable reason for your termination.
If you feel you were terminated solely for filing your workers’ compensation claim, you may have additional remedies under the workers’ compensation law. In addition to this, you might also have a civil claim against your former employer for wrongful termination.
Getting hurt is a scary process, and it can seem overwhelming dealing with doctors and insurance people, and wondering if you are making the right decisions for workman’s comp. When you turn your case over to trusted legal counsel for employee compensation claims, you can finally focus on getting better – and let us deal with everything else. Call Tyler at 803-500-0000 today for a free in-home consultation.