Workers’ Compensation Rights as an Under the Table Employee

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Employees are paid under the table or off the books everyday all across the state of South Carolina. Many of these employees are undocumented workers toiling in positions which offer low wages and no benefits. Others perhaps work a full-time job on the clock and then work part-time under the table for extra spending money. There seems to be certain fields where under the table workers are more prevalent and unfortunately these positions, for the most part, tend to involve physical labor and working conditions which can, and do, frequently cause on the job injuries.

When an undocumented under the table worker is injured on the job, depending on the severity of the injury they may opt to forgo medical attention. If the injury is debilitating or life threatening they will often end up at the emergency room, at a cost to all taxpayers. This scenario puts both parties at fault, as the employer is required by federal law to ensure all employees are legally able to work in the United States. Then other workers, who have a valid social security number and are off the books, may be given the benefit of the doubt as to whether they are paying taxes on those earnings. But in both cases the employer who hires under the table workers is evading their legal responsibility in terms of payroll obligations including workers’ compensation coverage.

Unfortunately the majority of injured off the books employees either don’t seek medical treatment or end up paying these medical expenses themselves because they don’t know their legal rights. In 1990 a bill was passed changing the name of the South Carolina Insolvency Fund to the South Carolina Uninsured Employers’ Fund. Then in 2013 this agency was phased out and their obligations and responsibilities transferred over to the State Accident Fund. Over the years, along with the name changes, the process for filing a claim has become a bit easier. Now under the State Accident Fund, an off the books worker can file a claim to have their medical expenses paid and then a collection or audit action is filed against their employer to recoup all monies paid out. At the same time the injured employee may be able to file a civil suit against the employer in the case of long-term disability, repetitive motion injury, missed wages and loss of limb or life. But it can still be a daunting journey for those workers who don’t speak English, English isn’t their native language, are in the United States illegally and are fearful of deportation or people who either don’t file taxes or don’t claim all their earned income.

Basically the law doesn’t differentiate between being paid above or below the table. If you receive remuneration for services rendered then you are an employee and are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This can be a very complicated situation because of all the variables involved and often under the table employees are hesitate to take action because of their own precarious legal standing.  At Dan Pruitt Law Firm we are here to ensure you are compensated for your on the job injury and we don’t judge, no matter what the circumstances. Please call us today at 864-232-4273 to schedule your free consultation. Hablamos español en Dan Pruitt Law Firm.

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