Workers’ compensation, commonly known by its shorter nickname workers’ comp, is a government-mandated safety net to provide reparation to any employee who suffers a work related injury or illness. There are both federal and state workers’ compensation programs and laws, but unless you are a federal government employee, chances are you will fall under state regulated workers’ compensation laws. For questions about workers’ compensation laws for Columbia, Florence or Greenville employees, contact the South Carolina workers’ comp office today.
What Injuries Are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Many people assume that only sudden accidents (slips, trips, falls or sudden equipment failure) are covered by workers’ compensation laws, but that is not necessarily true. Not only are those types of on-the-job accidents are covered, but so are repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome from typing, or back injuries from lifting heavy objects. What’s more, physical injuries are not the only type of suffering workers’ compensation may cover.
Illnesses caused or aggravated by a work space are also types of workers’ compensation cases. If you have emphysema and work with chemicals, for example, it may be covered. It is also possible to get compensation for psychological stress or mental breakdowns that occur in a work environment. This can be stress and anxiety coming from long-term stressful working conditions, or even a sudden, one-time event.
The worst case scenario, in the event of employee death, your surviving dependents can file a worker’s compensation claim on your behalf. If an accident costs you your life, workers’ compensation is payable to your spouse or children.
What Constitutes a Work Environment?
Injuries that occur at your work site are not the only ones that may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Any injury that occurs in the line of your job duties should be covered. Whether you are making a delivery, picking up materials, or even out on a service call, any injury or illness contracted while performing your job – regardless of location – should be covered.
In recent years, workers’ compensation laws have expanded to include other activities in the name of your employer. This could include spraining your ankle while playing second base on your softball team, or straining your back while bowling in the company league. The expansion of the laws are not limitless, however. Common sense can and should apply when determining if your injury occurred in the line of your employment. When in doubt, consult a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Does Fault Matter?
For the most part, fault is not a very significant consideration. If you are injured or contract an illness from your job or working conditions, workers’ compensation may usually cover it. It doesn’t matter where the fault lies; with you, a co-worker, a customer, or if the employment conditions are the culprit, state-mandated benefits make determinations on coverage regardless of the source. This is an exchange to protect your employer, as well. In exchange for workers’ compensation coverage, you will not have the right to sue your employer for most injuries.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Harris and Graves
Workers’ compensation laws are varied and complex. If you believe you have an injury or illness – whether physical or psychological – that is related to your employer or employment, your best bet is to contact a professional workers’ compensation lawyer. The professionals at Harris and Graves have been serving the state of South Carolina’s workers compensation needs for 25 years. Contact them today to review your case and help you get the compensation you deserve.