What Do I Do if My Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Compensation?
The time after an injury on the job is a stressful one – you may be worrying about your recovery, when you will get back to work, or even if you will be able to return, not to mention the medical bills that are likely piling up. Many employees find comfort in the knowledge that workers’ compensation will pay their medical bills. But what if your employer does not have workers’ compensation?
Which Employers Are Required to Have Workers’ Comp Insurance?
Workers’ compensation insurance laws differ from state to state but many states, including South Carolina, require employers with four or more employees to purchase workers’ comp insurance. Exceptions exist for railroad employees, farm workers, and immediate family. If you work for a business with four or more employees, in the majority of cases your employer must have workers’ compensation insurance under South Carolina state law.
If the state requires your employer to carry workers’ comp insurance and your employer chooses not to purchase it, he or she is subject to fines and possible criminal charges. If you or someone else receive injuries while at work, your employer risks personal injury lawsuits in lieu of insurance coverage. If you were injured at work only to learn your employer does not have the legally required workers’ compensation insurance, you may choose to sue or seek funds from the South Carolina State Accident Fund. Speak with an attorney regarding your case.
How Can I Find Out if My Employer Has Workers’ Comp Insurance?
In South Carolina, as in most states, your employer must post an employee notice that includes information about workers’ compensation. Some states also require businesses to post the name of the insurer. The Coverage Division of most states’ Workers’ Compensation Department will allow you to search by employer name if your employer has not posted the insurer by name. In most cases, however, you simply need to inform your employer of the injury within 90 days – your employer should give you a form to fill out to submit your claim.
Actions by Employee Causing Termination of Benefits
In some cases, employers providing workers’ comp coverage initially cover medical expenses as legally required, but then terminate the employee’s benefits. A number of employee actions could result in termination of benefits before the initial 150 days are up:
- You return to work for at least 15 days.
- You agree to return to work and sign a form.
- You provide a doctor’s release.
- A doctor approves lighter-duty work and your employer offers you such an assignment, but you refuse it.
- You refuse medical treatment.
- You are unable to handle your workload.
What if I’m Fired While Receiving Compensation?
If your employer fires you while you are receiving workers’ comp, your benefits will stop. Since South Carolina, along with many other states, is a right-to-work state, your employer does not have to offer a reason for your termination. However, if you believe your employer fired you to avoid workers’ compensation benefits or because of your injury, contact an attorney. You will need to prove your employer fired you because of your claim or injury, and an attorney can help you determine if you have a case.
What Do I Do if My Benefits Are Gone?
If your benefits stop due to one of the reasons above, you will likely need to rely on personal health insurance to cover your medical costs. However, if you believe your employer unfairly terminated your benefits or fired you because of your injuries, your best solution is to speak with a personal injury attorney well-versed in workers’ compensation laws.
Speak to a Greenville Workers Compensation Attorney About Your Case
Attorneys Johnnie D. Fulton and Andrew C. Barr of Fulton & Barr in Greenville, SC have been handling workers compensation cases for a long time and know the system well. They can advise you on your case whether you have just recently been injured and are starting the process, or have had a claim denied and want to re-file.
Contact Fulton & Barr today at (864) 235-3154 or contact us online. Initial consultations are always free.