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What you don't know about workers' compensation may hurt you

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You shouldn't have to file a lawsuit against your employer just because you suffered an injury at work. For this reason, like other states, South Carolina law allows you to receive certain benefits, such as paid medical and medical-related care, and a portion of the income you lose while you recover from your injuries.

You receive these benefits through your employer's workers' compensation insurance regardless of fault. As long as you were on the clock and performing your work duties at the time, you should receive certain benefits for suffering a work-related injury. You may already know that part, but you may need other information in order to relieve any stress or trepidation you may feel if you do suffer an injury.

Are injuries at work always covered?

There may not be coverage for an injury if it is purposely self-inflicted or the result of impairment on the job. Opinions differ on whether employers should cover injuries resulting from horseplay while on the clock. However, most other injuries are eligible for workers' compensation benefits, including the following:

  • An injury suffered during a break or your lunchtime
  • An injury suffered at an event sponsored by your employer
  • An injury resulting from something in your work facility itself such as equipment or even a chair in the break room
  • An injury that exacerbates or accelerates a pre-existing condition
  • A disease caused by something in your work environment such as a toxin
  • A physical or mental condition resulting from the strains of your employment or your job duties

You may want to remember that, if you leave your job site to do something personal, workers' compensation may not cover any injuries you suffer during this time. Moreover, these benefits may not be an entitlement to some people, depending on the circumstances. For instance, independent contractors may not fall under such a policy. In addition, some employers may be exempt from carrying this coverage in limited circumstances.

You may be able to file a civil claim

Under ordinary circumstances, you may not collect workers' compensation benefits and sue your employer. However, there are instances in which you may still do so. When it comes to some injuries, you may be able to seek compensation from a third party. For instance, if you suffered an injury due to a defective piece of equipment, you may have a products liability claim against the manufacturer.

This article may raise more questions for you. If you do suffer a work-related injury, it may be in your best interests to find out what your rights and legal options are in your particular situation.

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