South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Nobody expects to get hurt at work. When you are injured while on the job, it can be especially difficult to concentrate on recovering when you have bills to pay, a family to feed, and no paycheck.
According to the South Carolina Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, there were more than 43,700 reported nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses among South Carolina’s employers. That averages out to about 2.7 employees hurt per 100 full-time workers in the state.
Having an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer can set your mind at ease. Besides handling the stress, deadlines, and paperwork of filing and pursuing a claim, an attorney takes on fighting the insurance companies for compensation on your behalf.
Important Q&As about South Carolina Workers’ Compensation
- What is Workers’ Compensation?
- What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover in South Carolina?
- What are Common Workers’ Compensation Injuries in South Carolina?
- How Do I Apply for Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?
- How Do I Get Paid for Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?
- How Do I Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin?
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is insurance that is provided by an employer or their insurance carrier to provide wage and medical benefits to their employees who are injured at work. The Workers’ Compensation Act in South Carolina requires that all employers with at least four employees have this insurance for all their employees, with the exception of casual workers who don’t work regular hours and only when needed.
If you are hurt on the job, your employer’s workers’ comp protects you, protects them, and in many cases, allows for the survival of the business. It is the responsibility of your employer’s insurance company or your employer, not you, to pay your workers’ compensation claims. While workers’ compensation insurance is intended to help employees cover losses incurred from their work-related injuries, some insurance companies may try to protect their own interests first.
It’s important to speak with an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer quickly if you have been hurt on the job and need assistance. When choosing an attorney, carefully consider and question the firm’s resources, experience, and procedures so that you can make the best choice based on your circumstances.
Tip: You should not use your own medical insurance to pay for work-related injuries, as your treatments may not be reimbursable through workers’ comp.
Most workers’ compensation claims are settled before going before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. If the insurance company denies your claim, you or your lawyer should file a claim with the Commission, who will adjudicate, or judge, your workers’ comp claim. Essentially, workers’ compensation has its own judicial system, separate from civil and criminal court.
There are many reasons to consider hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer, but obtaining assistance in navigating the processes of filing your claim, requesting a hearing, and possibly appealing a decision are high on the list. Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers are here to help you every step of the way.
Does Fault Matter in Workers’ Compensation Claims?
No, in most cases it does not. South Carolina workers’ comp is a no-fault system, which means the Commission doesn’t look at whose fault it was that you were injured, or whether or not someone was negligent in causing your injury.
Why does this matter? Because even if you were negligent when you were injured, you are not necessarily barred from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Some exceptions may apply, like if you were intoxicated at the time. This also means that your employer’s negligence doesn’t necessarily increase the value of your claim either.
Different Names for Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is called many things in South Carolina. Regardless of the term used, workers’ comp is insurance that helps protect businesses and their employees from financial losses when an employee is hurt on the job.
Workers’ Compensation Names
The many variations of workers’ compensation include:
- Workmen’s compensation
- Workman’s compensation
- Workmen’s comp
- Workman’s comp
- Workers’ comp
- Worker’s comp
- Work comp
In addition to its many names, there are other words and phrases that are important to be familiar with when filing a claim. Take a few moments and familiarize yourself with our workers’ compensation glossary.[ Back to Top ]
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover in South Carolina?
So you’ve been injured on the job, and now you need to know what your employer’s workman’s comp insurance covers. What can you expect to be compensated for? An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand which benefits apply to your situation, but let’s cover the basics here.
Necessary Medical Treatment
By law, you are entitled to all necessary medical treatment that is “likely to lessen your disability.” Workers’ comp will usually cover your medical devices, prescriptions, surgery, hospitalization, and prosthetic devices. It may even reimburse you for your mileage to and from medical treatment.
What’s interesting about this system is that you must go to the doctor that your employer or the workers’ comp insurance carrier chooses. If you are dissatisfied with the care you are receiving, we encourage you to speak with the insurance carrier. If they refuse to listen, we urge you to contact us for help in potentially using a different doctor.
TIP: If you refuse medical treatment, you may be barred from further benefits.
The Importance of Your Treating Physician to Workman’s Compensation
Your treating physician will oversee your medical care throughout the entire process. This doctor will determine whether you have a partial or total disability and will assign impairment ratings to your injuries once you receive Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI is when the doctor has determined that they have exhausted all avenues of treatment and that your condition cannot be improved any further.
In South Carolina, you can ask the insurance company for a second medical opinion or you can complete Form 50 which requests the Workers’ Compensation Committee to decide whether you can get a second opinion. You will then need to attend a hearing and present evidence that shows that you need a second opinion. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you with the form and gathering the evidence that meets the legal standards set by South Carolina state law.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits
Temporary total disability benefits are paid to workers who need to take more than seven days off of work due to a workplace injury. The first seven days are not paid until you have been out of work for fourteen days. By law, you are entitled to two thirds (66 and 2/3%) of your average weekly wage, but no more than the maximum average weekly wage determined annually by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. If you worked other jobs with other employers, then those wages are included in calculating your average weekly wage as well.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
Sometimes, a doctor releases workers to return to work to do light work, or light duty. If you return to work but are earning less (due to reduced hours or a lower hourly rate), you are entitled to 2/3 of the difference between your wage before you were injured and your new reduced wage.
TPD may end if you are able to fully return to work. This is why it’s important to consult an attorney and not return to work before you’re ready.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
You may be entitled to PPD if you have sustained a permanent disability to certain body parts (such as arms, legs, back, or hands). Your treating physician assigns a PPD, or impairment, rating for your injured body part which represents its percentage of disability. This PPD rating is then applied to a schedule set by South Carolina law (S.C. Code 42-9-30) which assigns the number of weeks for which you can receive benefits. The higher the PPD rating, the higher the payout. Settlement negotiations begin with these ratings, and our South Carolina workers comp lawyers can help you with strategies to work towards potential higher PPD ratings.
TIP: Receiving payment for the PPD may impact your ability to later receive TTD benefits for the same injuries. A workers’ compensation attorney can guide you through the potential impact on future benefits when you receive a permanent partial disability payment.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
If you are unable to return to work because of a severe work injury, you may be entitled to receive 2/3 of your pre-injury wage for up to 500 weeks in South Carolina. In some instances, for example if you suffered a traumatic brain injury, paralysis, or the loss of use of both arms or legs, you may be entitled to benefits for the rest of your life.
If you are unable to go back to the same job that you had when you were injured, then you may be eligible for placement services in another field. Vocational rehabilitation helps injured workers find new employment or receive the skills necessary to find other kinds of employment.
Unfortunately, workplace deaths do occur in some instances. If you find yourself in this tragic situation, you still may be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim on behalf of your deceased loved one. South Carolina workers’ compensation law covers 2/3 of the deceased person’s income for up to 500 weeks. And you may also be able to have some, or all, of the burial expenses covered.
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What are Common Workers’ Compensation Injuries in South Carolina?
No one likes to think of their place of employment as unsafe. But accidents happen surprisingly often. And sometimes people get sick because of work conditions. For example, sometimes people are exposed to toxic chemicals at work.
Don’t disregard an injury that happened at work out of a misplaced sense of loyalty to your employer. Your employer has workers’ compensation insurance to protect you in case you are harmed on the job, as well as to protect their business. So, if you are injured in any way, tell them immediately. And call us at 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.
Some of the most common workplace injuries include:
- Slip and fall injuries
- Overexertion and overextension
- Vehicular accidents
- Inhaling toxic fumes
- Getting caught in machinery
- Falling from heights
- Being struck by falling objects
- Criminal Violence
Occupational Diseases and Repetitive Motion Injuries
Besides one-time accidents, workers’ compensation also covers occupational diseases that may affect your long-term health, such as mesothelioma caused by prolonged asbestos exposure. Injuries that stem from repetitive motions at your job, such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel, may also be covered as well. Find out more about South Carolina occupational diseases.
Injured Body Parts – Scheduled Awards
In South Carolina workers’ compensation law, which body part you have injured affects the maximum amount of permanent partial disability benefits that you may receive, and this is set into the state workers’ compensation statute. For example, if you lost the use of your thumb, you may be entitled to receive permanent partial disability benefits for up to 65 weeks. If you lost the use of your hand, you may receive up to 185 weeks of compensation. Or if you lost only 50% use of your hand, then you may be eligible for 50% of 185 weeks – a total of 92.5 weeks of payments. This payment is calculated when you achieve MMI and is separate from the temporary total disability benefits referenced above.
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How Do I Apply for Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?
If you want to apply for workers’ compensation in South Carolina:
- Report any and all injuries immediately to your employer, preferably in writing.
- It’s always good practice to have a paper trail when it comes to workers’ compensation claims.
- In South Carolina, you have 90 days from the day of the accident to report your injury to your employer; otherwise, you may lose your benefits. The earlier that you report your injuries the better, as delayed reporting may lead to the denial of your workers’ compensation benefits.
- After you report your injury to your employer, you have up to two years to file a workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina. In the event that an employee dies from work-related injuries, the employee’s family, dependents, or parents must file the claim within two years of the death. These two-year deadlines are called statutes of limitations.
- Request that your employer cover the necessary medical treatment and let them know you want a workers’ compensation claim filed. It is your employer’s responsibility to file a claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
- If your employer’s insurance accepts your claim, then you could start receiving benefits right away. However, it is still a good idea to contact a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney to see if you are getting all the benefits you may be entitled.
- If your employer’s insurance denies your claim, ask them to put in writing why they denied it, and call a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney to walk you through your options.
Note: Don’t disregard an injury that happened at work out of a misplaced sense of loyalty to your employer. Your employer has workers’ compensation insurance to protect you in case you are harmed on the job, as well as to protect their business.
- Consider filing a claim or requesting a hearing with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Committee. This may be necessary if your employer doesn’t report your accident with the Commission. Or the insurance company denies your claim. Or you think you did not receive your full benefits (this happens surprisingly often). A qualified workers’ comp lawyer can guide you through this process. If you want to try to take this on by yourself:
- File a claim by filling out and submitting Form 50 (in case of work-related injuries) or Form 52 (in case of work-related death) to the Commission.
- Request a hearing by indicating this desire on the claim form (Line 13b on Form 50 or Line 12b on Form 52).
- At a hearing, a commissioner will determine the outcome of your case.
- If you are not satisfied with the commissioner’s decision, you may file an appeal to be reviewed by a panel of experts.
Note: Be careful, an error on this paperwork could damage your workers’ compensation claim.
Give us a call at 1-866-900-7078, and our South Carolina workman’s comp legal team can help guide you through this entire process – from accurately filling out the right forms to presenting your strongest case for just compensation.[ Back to Top ]
How Do I Get Paid for Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?
In order to get paid for workers’ compensation in South Carolina, you must have a qualifying injury or illness and follow the proper steps.
If you want to know the manner in which you’ll receive your workers’ compensation payment, the law in South Carolina states that “Compensation shall be paid periodically, promptly, and directly to the person.”
Note: This is often a great source of frustration. Many injured workers report that they do not receive their checks promptly or directly. An attorney may be able to help.[ Back to Top ]
How Do I Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin?
When you are hurt at work, it may feel like you’re drowning in medical bills and questions. The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin is ready to help you with your potential claim. Our legal team is experienced in handling the many common types of workers’ comp claims and can help guide you through the process. We will negotiate on behalf of our clients to try to not only get their claims approved, but to try to maximize the amount they receive for their injuries.[ Back to Top ]