If you have been harmed, hurt or injured in your place of employment or in an on the job accident in South Carolina your life may be forever impacted. Depending on the severity of your injuries the quality of life you currently enjoy may be gone forever. Workers compensation injuries are very common throughout all of South Carolina and can occur in settings such as clerical or administrative environments, manual labor intensive jobs, service industry jobs and jobs in the healthcare field.
Filing a South Carolina workers compensation claim is very complex and should be done by an experienced workers compensation attorney. Attempting to file your claim yourself can easily result in it being done incorrectly which can disqualify you from obtaining benefits. So that you get any and all benefits and forms of financial compensation it is imperative that you retain a workers comp lawyers serving the entire state including Anderson, Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach and Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Workers’ Compensation In South Carolina
Workers’ compensation laws are designed to provide a satisfactory means of handling occupational disabilities. Workers’ compensation laws were enacted originally in 1935 and they have evolved as the economy became more industrial and less agricultural.
Workers’ compensation laws held that the employers should assume the costs of occupational disabilities without regard to the fault involved. Resulting economic losses are considered costs of production, chargeable, to the extent possible, as a price factor. The laws serve to relieve employers of liability from common law suits involving negligence in exchange for becoming responsible for medical costs and lost wages of on-the-job injuries regardless of fault.
The Objectives Of South Carolina Work Comp Laws
Historically, six basic objectives underlie the workers’ compensation laws:
Provide sure, prompt, and reasonable income and medical benefits to work-related accident victims, or income benefits to their dependents, regardless of fault;
Provide a single remedy and reduce court delays, costs, and judicial workloads arising out of personal injury litigation;
Relieve public and private charities of financial demands incident to uncompensated occupational accidents;
Minimize payment of fees to lawyers and witnesses as well as time-consuming trials and court appeals;
Encourage maximum employer interest in safety and rehabilitation through an appropriate experience-rating mechanism; and,
Promote frank study of the causes of accidents (rather than the concealment of fault) in an effort to reduce preventable accidents and human suffering.
The South Carolina Industrial Commission serves to administer and enforce South Carolina’s first workers’ compensation law. Throughout the years, the law has been amended by statute, defined by case law, and altered through administrative policies and procedures; however, the basic premise and purpose of the law has remained unaltered. In May 1986, the name of the Industrial Commission was changed to the more descriptive South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Who Is Covered Under SC Workmans’ Comp Laws
For the most part all South Carolina employers and employees are covered under South Carolina workers’ compensation law. Exceptions to this provision include railroad and railway express companies and employees, certain casual employees, Federal employees in South Carolina, businesses with less than four employees, agricultural employees, and certain real estate salespersons, and, by election, corporate officers.
Employers covered by the provisions of the Act are required to maintain insurance sufficient for the payment of compensation, or they shall furnish the Commission satisfactory proof of their ability to pay the compensation in the amount and manner due an injured employee. The South Carolina Department of Insurance is responsible for approving rates and classifications for all workers’ compensation insurers.
A South Carolina employee may expect compensation for personal injury or death by accident arising out of and in the course of his or her employment. Workers’ compensation pays for necessary medical treatment, loss of wages during a period of disability, and compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement. If an employee is injured and unable to work for more than seven days, he or she is eligible to be compensated at the rate of 66 2/3% of the employee’s average weekly wage, limited to 100% of the State’s average weekly wage as established each year by the South Carolina Employment Security Commission. If the period of total disability exceeds 14 days, the employee is eligible for compensation beginning with the date of the accident.
The maximum award for total disability or death is limited by law to five hundred (500) weeks of compensation. The rate of compensation is determined by the injured employee’s average weekly wage and cannot exceed 100% of the state’s average weekly wage. The loss of both hands, arms, feet, legs, or vision in both eyes, or a combination of two such losses, constitutes total and permanent disability. In addition, a commissioner can make other disability determinations based on the particular loss or impairment to the whole person.
Amounts of compensation for partial disability or disfigurement are generally established and limited by statute or Commission regulation. Awards are usually made in terms of the number of weeks of compensation to which the employee is entitled based on the extent of the disabling injury.
In South Carolina, the disability or death of an employee resulting from an occupational disease is treated as an injury by accident, and the employee, or in the case of death, the deceased’s dependents, may be entitled to compensation. A disease may be recognized as an occupational disease only if it is caused by a hazard recognized as peculiar to a particular trade, process, occupation, or employment as a direct result of continuous exposure to normal working conditions. In addition to occupational diseases, injury from harmful exposures to ionizing radiation is also defined for particular attention under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
When an employee is injured on the job, he or she should immediately report the accident to the employer, or the employee may jeopardize the payment of medical fees and other compensation he or she may be entitled to under the Act. In no event should the employee wait more than ninety days from the date of the accident to report it to the employer. Claims for compensation must be made within two years after the accident or the date of death. Failure to comply with the timeliness statutes could negate any possible award or other compensation. Once an employer receives notice of an accident or has knowledge about an accident, the employer, or its representative, has ten (10) days in which to report the accident to the Commission. The Commission monitors the payment of medical treatment and compensation provided by the employer or its insurance carrier to the injured worker.
Workers’ Compensation Hearings
An employee may file an application for a hearing before a commissioner if the employer does not report the accident, if the employer denies that the injury was sustained in the course and scope of employment, or if the employee believes that he or she did not receive all of the available benefits. An employee may also file for a hearing if an employer and the injured employee fail to reach an agreement with regard to compensation within 14 days after the employer has knowledge or notice of the accident, or in the event payment is made, if there is a subsequent disagreement over the continuance of any weekly payment.
The decision of the hearing commissioner may be appealed to the Commission for review. A panel of either three or six commissioners, excluding the original hearing commissioner, will consider the appeal. The decision of the appellate panel may be appealed to a Court of Common Pleas and the State Appellate Courts.
South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission
The Workers’ Compensation Commission is responsible for administering the workers’ compensation law in South Carolina. The Commission works closely with the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Commission’s many constituents to ensure that the workers’ compensation system is fair, equitable, and responsive to the needs of the citizens of South Carolina.
Common South Carolina Workplace Injuries
The type of work you do for a living is directly related to the type of injury you can suffer during the course of a normal work day. Having an experienced Charleston, South Carolina workers compensation lawyer on your side will ensure that your claim is filed correctly, on time, and your rights are protected. Our Rock Hill workers compensation attorneys have many years experience handling workers compensation claims throughout South Carolina. They are well versed in South Carolina workers compensation law and how the workers comp system works. They routinely, and successfully, handle all types of workers compensation claims including:
Workplace slip and falls
Repetitive stress injuries
Back, elbow, knee and shoulder injuries
Central Nervous System (CNS) Injuries (the CNS is comprised of the brain and spinal cord)
Soft Tissue Injuries
Common South Carolina Workplace Accidents
Machine and equipment accidents
Workers compensation auto accidents
Fatal workers compensation accidents
South Carolina Workplace Benefits
According to South Carolina workers’ compensation law if injured in the workplace in South Carolina you may be entitled to benefits such as:
Partial and total disability
Scarring and disfigurement
Medical expense coverage
Death and funeral benefits
South Carolina Workers’ Comp Statute Of Limitations
According to South Carolina workers compensation statute of limitations you have 3 years from the date of injury or date of death to seek legal recourse via filing a workers compensation claim. While you may want to just put the accident behind you it makes sense to contact a Columbia South Carolina workers compensation lawyers immediately following the accident. With our Greenville South Carolina workers comp lawyers at the helm you will know that your rights are protected and that your workers compensation claim is being handled correctly and in a timely fashion. This will allow you to focus on recovering and getting back to work.
South Carolina Workers Compensation Retaliation Laws
One of the biggest concerns injured South Carolina workers have is whether or not they can be demoted, fired, laid off, reclassified or terminated due to filing a workers’ compensation claim. The answer is a resounding no. South Carolina has very strict laws against companies and employers, both large and small, firing injured workers’ in an effort to not have to pay a workers’ compensation claim. If you have experienced a change in your employment status as a result of filing a workers’ comp claim anywhere in South Carolina you may be entitled to additional benefits above and beyond the work comp claim benefits. Our attorneys have a tremendous amount of experience handling retaliation cases as well. Let them fight to get you the benefits and financial compensation you are eligible for under South Carolina workers’ compensation and labor law.
South Carolina Third Party Liability Laws
Many times in a work related injury there is more than one liable party. For instance, if you were injured while operating a machine in your work space and sustained in injury your employer will be at fault. Depending on what happened other parties may be liable. These can be the machine manufacturer (if it is determined that the machine was broken, defective or faulty). Contractor and subcontractors can also be liable if they worked on the machine but did not properly repair it. In third party liability, also referred to as vicarious liability, there can be a civil lawsuit (also known as a personal injury lawsuit) in addition to the workers’ comp claim. Workers’ compensation cases can be very complex and warrant the help of an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer.
Let Our Columbia Workers Comp Lawyers Help You
Contact our South Carolina workers compensation law office today to discuss your case and how to protect your rights. Our Charleston, South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers handle workers compensation cases on a contingency fee basis meaning we charge no fee for work related injury claims unless we recover on your behalf.
We offer free consults to injured employees and workers throughout South Carolina. Serving all of South Carolina including Anderson, Beaufort, Camden, Charleston, Clemson, Columbia, Laurens, Lexington, Newberry, West Columbia, Greenville, Rock Hill, Georgetown, Myrtle Beach & Spartanburg, SC.
Our Columbia South Carolina workers’ comp lawyers also have ample experience handling work injury claims throughout all of Greenville County, Anderson County, Pickens County, Richland County, Lexington County, Newberry County, Horry County, Laurens County, Kershaw County, Union County, Charleston County & York County, SC.