Can I Opt Out Of Workers’ Compensation and Sue My Employer In South Carolina?

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You just got hurt at work.  Your injuries were severe and you will be missing work for quite a while.  You believe that it was your employer’s fault and you think they should be held accountable for your injuries.  You have been told by friends and family, however, that there is nothing you can do other than receive your workers’ compensation benefits.  You want to know if this is truly the case.  It depends on the situation.Insurance claim concept

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation in South Carolina is an insurance plan in which all employers with over four employees must participate.  Specifically, your employer pays premiums to ensure that you are protected, and, as such, your right to sue your employer is taken away from you.  This is known as an exclusive remedy and, in most cases, there are no other avenues you can pursue.  There are exceptions to this rule, though.

Intentional Injury

You may be able to sue your employer if they intended to injure you.  Please note that this is not the same as being willfully or even grossly indifferent to your safety.  Your employer actually has to intend the consequences of you being hurt.  This scenario is not very common, for obvious reasons.

Product Liability

Suppose you were hurt at work while using a cardboard baler.  If the baler was designed with a flaw in its safety override system and you were injured, you might have a potential products liability suit.  While it would not be filed against your employer, the manufacturer of the baler system might be able to be held liable for designing a product that was dangerous when used for its intended purpose.

Third-party Injury

In today’s business world, third parties are often on an employer’s premises, whether they are contracted maintenance workers, vendors or other service providers.  If you are injured as a result of their actions, you may have the ability to sue them for the personal injury.  An example of this would be if a crew was at your employer’s place of business to repair the ceiling and dropped a tool from a height and you were struck, thereby sustaining injuries.  Since the third party is not an employee and is a contractor, you might be able to sue them for negligence.

Exterior Premises

Today’s business environment often requires employees to travel to other business premises.  If you are injured by the conduct of someone else while away from your place of employment, you are often able to sue the third party.  An example of this would be if you were driving to an off-site client and were involved in an automobile accident.  Chances are that you would be able to sue the other driver if they were negligent in their conduct for your personal injuries.

Workers’ compensation laws were put into place to allow injured employees to recover for their injuries without having to sue their employers, while at the same time protecting employers from being sued.  This does not mean, though, that there are not some instances where other parties can be held responsible.  If you have been injured on the job in South Carolina, you need experienced representation to ensure that your rights are protected.  Each case is determined by its facts and there may be other avenues available for you to recover for your injuries.  Give attorney Dan Pruitt a call at (866) 791-8300 today to set up your free consultation today and put him to work getting you the results you deserve.

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