Workers’ compensation is an excellent resource for injured employees in South Carolina. Injured workers can receive monetary benefits for their lost wages, medical bills, and disability without having to prove fault after a work-related accident. The design of workers’ compensation makes it so that injured employees receive benefits as long as they need to, until they can return to work. Find out how long your workers’ comp benefits might last after a recent work injury.
What are the Different Types of Workers’ Compensation Payments?
If you qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you will receive a check from the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission to cover all of your medical expenses, disability benefits, and two-thirds of your weekly lost wages (up to a maximum). You should receive payments periodically, such as once or twice per month. The frequency and amounts of your payments will depend on your situation, salary, and the rules in South Carolina.
Workers on permanent partial disability will receive payments equal to two-thirds of the average weekly wage, subject to a maximum. Permanent total disability payments come with additional benefits – often for life. There is a seven-day waiting period from the time your workplace accident occurs to when your employer’s insurance will start sending payments. Payments will come directly to you, the worker. Payments will continue until a doctor releases you to return to work.
When Will My Workers’ Comp Benefits End?
Workers’ comp payments may last throughout life if you have permanent and total disability. Otherwise, they will eventually end. A workers’ compensation benefit arrangement will terminate once a doctor releases you to work, with or without restrictions. At this point, the program will deem that it’s no longer necessary to treat your work-related injury. Whether you can work, the extent of your injury, and your impairment rating can all affect how long you will receive payments.
If your payments will end, you will receive two copies of Form 15 with Section II completed within 150 days of notification of your accident. This form indicates that the Workers’ Compensation Commission has stopped your payments, and why this has happened. Payments will stop once a doctor releases you to go back to work. After you’ve been back at work for 15 days, your employer will ask you to sign Form 17. This is a receipt of compensation stating that you accepted workers’ compensation payments, and now understand that checks will stop.
There are cases in which a doctor might release an injured worker with limitations, such as to return to “light duty.” If your employer offers light duty, you must accept it to still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. You will still receive compensation for the pay difference between light duty and your regular work. If and when the doctor releases you to return to your regular level of work, compensation checks will stop completely.
Appealing the Commission’s Decision
In the event that you disagree with the Commission’s decision to stop your payments, you can complete Section III of Form 15 and send it to the Commission’s judicial department. This allows you to request a hearing in 60 days regarding your benefits. Retain an attorney to help you argue your need for continued payments.
If you or loved one was injured at work because of negligence, contact the Charleston workers compensation attorneys at HawkLaw for a free consultation*.
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