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work comp questions

Is there any Recovery for Claims of Fraud?

Disclosing Existing Injuries to your Employer

S.C. Code Ann. § 42-1-540 "excludes all other rights and remedies...at common law or otherwise..." The employer is therefore relieved of common law tort liability as well as state and federal statutory liability for a covered injury.

The frivolous Civil Proceedings Act, S.C. Code Ann. §15-36-10, allows a party to seek reimbursement of attorney's fees and costs for frivolous claims as determined by the Act.

Fraud in the Application of Employment

Due to the adoption of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), this defense has been significantly reduced in its applicability. Previously an employer could avoid liability, if (1) an employee knowingly and intentionally falsified his pre-employment questionnaire/application concerning his physical condition, and (2) the employer relied upon the false representation, and the employer's reliance was a substantial factor in hiring that employee, and finally (3) there was a causal connection between the false representation and the injury the employee suffered.
With the implementation of the ADA, employment applications do not include questions about an employee's previous injuries. Since employment applications do not request information about past injuries, the employee does not have the opportunity to make a false representation; therefore, this defense has arguably been eliminated.

For Example: An employee has a pre-existing back injury. On his employment application to become a furniture mover, he states that he is in perfect physical condition with no prior injuries. The furniture co. relies on his false application, believing that he has a good back, and hires him. Subsequently, the employee is moving furniture and re-injures his back. The falsification of the employment contract may be a valid defense to payment of the claim.

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