When it’s your first day on the job, you want to make a good impression. You may even be on a probationary period, and even if not, it’s likely that most of your benefits, including health insurance and paid sick leave, haven’t even kicked in yet. So it can seem like a nightmare if you get injured and are no longer able to perform your job duties right off the bat.
This nightmare scenario is, unfortunately, more common than you might think, so if it happened to you, you’re not alone. In fact, workers may even be more likely to be injured in their first few days on the job, since they probably haven’t received full safety training yet.
In most circumstances, you are still eligible for workers’ compensation benefits even if you were injured on your first day on the job.
Why Workers’ Compensation Is Different
Almost every employer in South Carolina is legally required by the state to provide workers’ compensation benefits for all employers, regardless of how long they’ve been employed, even if it’s one day.
So even if you are not yet eligible for the health insurance benefits provided by your employer, they still have to provide you with workers’ compensation benefits.
However, keep in mind that even though you are eligible from day one, you can’t claim benefits from day one. You still need to apply for workers’ compensation benefits, and your application may be rejected. In addition, South Carolina has a seven-day waiting period before benefits can be paid.
However, many valid claims are rejected on technicalities, such as incorrectly filling out the paperwork. This is why we recommend hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to either help you apply or to appeal a denial.
Could My Workers’ Compensation Claim Be Rejected If I’m Injured on the First Day?
While it could potentially be rejected, it can’t be rejected because it was your first day. The only exceptions that apply to when you can’t receive workers’ compensation are the same across the board, regardless of whether you’re injured on day one or year 10.
One of the most common reasons why your workers’ compensation claim could be denied is because you weren’t actually working when the injury happened. While workers’ compensation doesn’t require you to prove that you weren’t at fault for your own injury, you do need to be performing work duties. For example, if you injured yourself on your lunch break, your claim would likely be denied.
Can I Get Fired If I File for Workers’ Comp After I’m Injured On My First Day?
No, it is illegal to fire an employee for filing for workers’ compensation, even if that employee had only been employed for one day.
What Should I Do If I Get Injured On My First Day on the Job?
First, inform your supervisor that you were injured. You legally have 90 days to do so, but reporting it as soon as possible, on the same day as you were injured if you can, will make getting compensation easier.
Next, request medical treatment. You may need to get treatment from a doctor your employer chooses rather than your regular doctor.
Then, fill out a workers’ compensation claim form (Form 50 or 52) to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. An experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney can help you make sure all paperwork is filed correctly and on time.
Get Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
We’ve helped workers of all kinds of workplace injuries get compensation, including when they were injured even before they were eligible for other workplace benefits. If you need help filing a claim or an appeal, contact our firm today.