When most people think of workers’ compensation, they think of construction workers with hard hats. But the truth is, workplace injuries can happen anywhere. That’s why South Carolina requires employers with more than 4 employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance program covering employees who are injured or become ill while on the job. In exchange for providing insurance to pay an injured worker’s medical bills and a portion of lost wages, businesses are shielded from being sued directly in a personal injury claim by their workers for workplace accidents.
For most workplace injuries, seeking workers’ compensation benefits is the injured employee’s only recourse. In certain cases, however, an injured worker also may also pursue a third-party personal injury claim. The third-party who is at fault must be unrelated to the employer, such as an outside vendor or other business sharing the same office space. For example, Joye Law Firm represented a worker who was injured in a fall. Not only was the injured worker’s attorney able to negotiate a workers’ compensation settlement, but we also recovered a substantial settlement from the third-party vendor that performed work that created the fall risk.
To learn more about your options, contact Joye Law Firm at 888-324-3100 or fill out our online case evaluation form. Our South Carolina workplace injury lawyers can help you explore every potential avenue of recovery for your on-the-job injuries.
Common Causes of Office Injuries
Working day in and day out in a seated position, talking on a phone, writing or typing on a computer, and using other office machines presents the potential for repetitive stress injuries to the hands and wrists, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
In addition, office employees face many of the same hazards as other workers:
- Fall hazards, from slippery floors, and cluttered floors creating tripping hazards.
- Lifting. Even small loads such as stacks of files or a computer monitor can cause injury if lifted improperly.
- Being struck by objects, bumping into objects, or getting caught between objects, such as bumping into furniture or other people; being hit by objects that fall from shelves or cabinet tops, or cabinets falling over and crushing workers against the floor.
- Strain from poor ergonomics. A poorly designed workstation can create unsafe work conditions and cause a variety of musculoskeletal problems.
The most common types of injuries among office workers include:
- Neck pain
- Strains, sprains, and muscle tears
- Vision strains
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and spine injuries
- Electrocution injuries
- Illness due to workplace conditions
What Happens If I Get Injured in an Office?
If you are injured in an accident while performing your job, or the injury grew out of your work responsibilities, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
A workers’ compensation attorney from Joye Law Firm can help make sure your claim is filed correctly and that you receive the full benefits available by law. Even if your workers’ comp claim has already been denied or disputed, we can file an appeal and present your case to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. Employers and/or their insurers sometimes wrongly deny workers’ compensation claims to save money or because of a misunderstanding of the facts.
Joye Law Firm can also represent you and protect your rights if:
- You have a third-party claim. As we mentioned above, a third-party claim is a standard personal injury lawsuit against someone other than an employer or a co-employee who is responsible for a workplace accident or injuries, such as an outside vendor or contractor, or others. By pursuing a third-party claim, you may seek compensation not available from workers’ compensation.
- You have been retaliated against for complaining or filing a worker’s compensation claim or a complaint about a health or safety issue. It is illegal for an employer to terminate an employee simply for filing a worker’s compensation claim. Also, the whistleblower protection provision of the OSHA Act prohibits any business from terminating or in any manner retaliating against an employee who has complained about unsafe or unhealthful work conditions or exercised other rights under the OSHA Act. If you file a complaint within 30 days of the alleged retaliatory action, OSHA may order your reinstatement and payment of back pay plus damages (compensation).
- Don’t I Have the Right to a Safe Workplace in South Carolina?
- Under the South Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA Act), the state is responsible for the enforcement of occupational safety and health standards in almost all workplaces in South Carolina. Most of the state’s shipbuilding, ship repairing, and shipbreaking operations remain under federal jurisdiction under the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
- Under laws administered by the S.C. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employers are required to provide places of employment that are free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or physical harm. Employers are also responsible for following health and safety directives as issued by the state’s director of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.
- Each employee is obligated to comply with OSHA standards and all rules, regulations, and orders that apply to their workplace duties, actions and conduct.
- If an employee believes there is a serious hazard or their employer is not following OSHA standards, they have the right to file a complaint and request OSHA inspections of their workplaces. Workers do not have to know whether a specific OSHA standard has been violated in order to file a complaint.
- The OSHA Act defines a hazard as a condition, practice, or act that could result in an injury or illness to an employee.
- SC OSHA recommends that employees try to resolve safety and health issues by reporting them first to their supervisors, managers, or the workplace safety and health committee. But, employees can file a complaint with the SC OSHA at any time.
- If a violation is found, OSHA may cite the business and fine the employer. However, OSHA citations may only be issued for violations that currently exist or existed in the immediately previous 6 months.
Contact a Joye Law Firm South Carolina Workers’ Comp Lawyer Today
Our workers’ compensation attorneys have been helping hard-working South Carolinians obtain the workplace injury benefits they deserve for more than five decades. Our legal team is one of the largest and most respected workers’ compensation practices in the State. We know just how important workers’ compensation benefits are to you and your family when you are out of work with an injury. We’ll protect your rights to benefits and from retaliation.
Joye Law Firm can help you throughout the workers’ compensation benefits process, including identifying and pursuing potential third-party claims. To speak to one of our lawyers about your on-the-job injury, call 888-324-3100 or visit our contact page to schedule a free and confidential case review.