Workers' Compensation in South Carolina
In South Carolina, state law mandates that most employers (those with more than four employees) carry workers' compensation (also known as workers' comp, work compensation, workmans compensation). This requirement ensures that all employees injured during the course and scope of their employment, or employees who become ill because of conditions at their workplace, will have income replacement and medical benefits during their recoveries. If you have been injured in a work accident, or have an occupational disease, you must file a claim with the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission within a statutorily specified time period to get benefits.
If you are considering filing a claim for workmans comp benefits, you are also advised to bly consider hiring a South Carolina work compensation lawyer to assist you with filing your claim. Sometimes claims are contested, employers are uncooperative, or your claim may be denied. In these situations, a South Carolina workers comp attorney's assistance is your best bet to make sure that you receive the benefits you need while you recover from your injury.
Illnesses and Injuries Covered Under South Carolina Workers' Compensation Law
Accidental Physical Injuries
- On-the-job accidents in South Carolina that result in an employee's injuries are covered by workmans compensation insurance. However, not all work-related injuries are covered by insurance. For instance, if an employee's injury is self-inflicted, or if the employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the injury occurs, his injury probably will not be covered.
- Only diseases that are specifically caused by the hazards of your particular employment are considered occupational illnesses. These may include those caused by continual or repeated exposure to normal working conditions at your job which prove hazardous, or to radiation. Examples include carpal tunnel syndrome, asbestosis, hearing loss, and radiation poisoning.
- Benefits are payable to a deceased worker's dependents (see below).
The South Carolina Worker's Comp Claims Process
- Notify Your Boss/File Your Claim
- A worker injured on-the-job must notify his supervisor, manager, foreman, etc. of his injury within 90 days of the injury, or he risks losing his right to benefits. An injured employee cannot receive benefits until after his boss has filed a "Workers' Compensation-First Report of Injury or Illness" (Form WCC 12-A) with the South Carolina State Accident Fund. There is a two year statute of limitations for filing a workmans comp claim in South Carolina. Failure to file within two years after your injury will mean the loss of workers' comp income, medical and permanent disability benefits.
- Get Medical Help Promptly
- When you seek medical attention for your job-related injury, be sure to inform the doctor who examines you that your injury occurred at work.
- A South Carolina Workmans Compensation Attorney can assist you if you have questions about your claim, and if your claim is disputed or denied.
Benefits Received in South Carolina Under the Workers' Compensation Program
Workers' comp in South Carolina includes a variety of potential benefits that you should discuss with your South Carolina workers' compensation attorney:
- Medical Treatment: The medical providers who treat you for your injury will be paid directly by your employer's insurance company (hospital bills, doctor visits, etc.).
- Wage Reimbursement: It is possible to obtain reimbursement for the cost of driving to and from medical appointments for your employment injury or illness, as well as wages you may lose because of the time you spend traveling to these appointments and time you spend in examinations.
- Funeral: Burial expenses up to, but not more than $2,500.
- Death: In the event that the worker dies from his employment-injury or disease, his surviving spouse and dependent children will be entitled to death benefits in the amount of 2/3 of the worker's average weekly wage each week. These payments will continue for up to 500 weeks subject to certain conditions, and may be payable in a lump sum.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: Placement in a program to help you return to your original job, or if your injury makes this impossible, to obtain training for a new job through the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department.
- Income Benefits: the following are potential workmans comp benefits in South Carolina:
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD for short): Paid to workers whose on-the-job injuries are so severe that they cannot work for a period of time. Weekly payments are paid out each week at 2/3 of the employee's average weekly wage prior to his workplace injury.
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (or TPD for short): When an employee has recovered from his injury enough to return to work, but only to work shorter hours or in a reduced capacity. The worker will be paid the difference between his current reduced salary and 2/3 of his pre-injury average weekly wage each week.
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD for short): If an employment illness or injury is so serious that he cannot work indefinitely, he will be paid 2/3 of his average weekly wage prior to his injury for up to 500 weeks, or may be eligible for a one time payment.
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD for short): The employee is still disabled by his injury, but can return to work and perform some job functions, though not at full capacity. The amount of compensation the employee will receive is statutory, and depends on the type of injury.
Why Hire A South Carolina Workers' Comp Lawyer
Because your livelihood is at stake when you file a claim for workmans compensation, and because you may be facing a significant period of disability, it is in your best interest to contact a South Carolina workers' comp lawyer. Such a specialist will be able to file your paperwork on time, ensure that the work compensation process goes smoothly, and deal with complicating factors in your case, such as third persons involved in your injury, or manufacturers whose products are potentially responsible for your injury. Additionally, a South Carolina workmans comp attorney is intimately acquainted with workers' comp procedures and can recommend the best possible strategy and course of action for your case.
South Carolina Workers' Compensation
Workers' Compensation sections of the South Carolina Code of Laws:
- Employers Subject To Workers' Compensation
- Workers' Compensation, Tit. 42, Chp.1, Art.3.
- Covered Employees
- Workers' Compensation, Tit. 42, Chp.1, Art.3.
- Workers' Compensation, Tit. 42, Chp.9.
- Claims Procedure
- Workers' Compensation, Tit. 42, Chp.15.