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Can I Sue My Employer for a Workplace Injury in South Carolina?


When employees suffer an injury on the job in South Carolina, they are generally eligible for workers’ compensation benefits – regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Benefits include covering medical expenses, a portion of the worker’s lost wages, and even vocational training. 

In exchange for automatically qualifying for workers’ comp benefits, injured workers are prohibited from filing a lawsuit against their employers. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. 

The following are several situations in which an injured worker may be able to sue an employer: 

  • The employer intentionally caused the injury – When an employer intentionally causes harm through malice or tortious acts, the employer may file a lawsuit. Common examples of this situation include assaulting or falsely imprisoning an employee. 

  • The employer was grossly negligent – If an employer acts in a grossly negligent or reckless manner that results in an employee’s injury, the injured worker can sue the employer. Common examples include putting workers in unnecessary dangerous or risky situations, failing to provide a safe work environment, having poor safety protocols, and failing to provide safety equipment. 

  • The employer denied an employee’s entitled benefits – If an injured employee has a valid worker’s compensation claim but the employer denies it for no reason, you may be able to file a lawsuit after initially appealing the matter with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. 

  • The employer did not carry workers’ compensation insurance – An employer who regularly employs at least four workers is required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance in the state. However, this cause of action can only apply to cases involving negligence. Therefore, an injured worker must prove that the employer’s negligence caused the injury. 

  • The employer takes retaliatory action against the employee – If an employer terminates or demotes an employee who is filing a workers’ compensation claim or workers’ comp proceedings, the employee can sue the employer for retaliation. 

If you have been injured in a workplace accident in Charleston, call Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC at (843) 968-0886 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation. Our legal team has more than 125 years of combined experience! 

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