Experiencing a workplace-related injury can cause plenty of negative consequences, whether it be through lost wages, medical care and treatment, or navigation of South Carolina’s complicated workers’ compensation laws. Even in cases where the employer is likely at fault for an injury, you can still have your claim denied. Those unfamiliar with their rights may end up losing thousands of dollars in benefits in the process, and that can lead to devastating financial hardship. At HawkLaw, we have fought and won more than $200M for our clients. We will diligently fight as hard as we can to help you receive the compensation you deserve.
What Compensation Will Injured Workers Receive for Lost Wages in South Carolina?
Workers’ Compensation benefits depend on the extent of your injuries and your ability to perform assigned work duties, all according to your authorized treating doctor. Depending on your ability to return to work, under South Carolina workers’ compensation, you may receive
- Temporary partial disability benefits (TPD)
- Permanent partial disability benefits (PPD)
- Temporary total disability benefits (TTD)
- Permanent total disability benefits (PTD)
Partial Disability Benefits
Partial disability for injured workers means that you can perform some of your assigned work duties. As a result, workers’ comp will cover two-thirds of the difference between your original full-time salary (pre-injury) and your salary performing reduced work duties. For example, if you were making $1,000 as the average weekly wage prior to your injury and $500 a week on restrictions (lighter work duties), then your temporary partial disability benefits will equal $333.33.
Total Disability Benefits
Temporary total disability (TTD) is paid to employees who are unable to return to work until they receive proper medical treatment for their injury. Workers’ comp benefits will pay out two-thirds of the employee’s original salary. For those with permanent total disability, long-term weekly benefits may be paid out.
Who is Entitled to Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?
Almost everyone is covered by workers’ compensation in South Carolina; however, there are a number of exclusions, and certain workers may not be legally able to file workers’ comp claims.
For example, employers are not required to provide workers’ comp coverage and benefits for independent contractors, casual employees, off-work employees, or employees who work for a company with only 1-4 employees. Workers in certain industries are also excluded, including federal employees, railroad employees, and agricultural employees.
You can find out more information about who is excluded by visiting SC Code of Laws, page 7.
What Counts as a Workplace Injury in South Carolina?
A workplace injury is one that is suffered due to an accident that occurs during the course of one’s employment. Examples of the causes of workplace injuries include a slip and fall, being hit by a falling item, an accident working with certain equipment, inhalation of toxic fumes, or experiencing a crash while driving to or from a work meeting. Chronic illnesses developed from the workplace, such as carpal tunnel, are also covered by workers’ comp.
If you suspect you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation, consult with HawkLaw as soon as you are able. We can thoroughly review your case and provide guidance.
How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in South Carolina?
Filing a workers’ comp claim in the state of South Carolina requires you to take certain steps in a timely manner.
First, you need to file a report directly with your employer. If you are injured, file a report as soon as possible following the accident that caused the injury. Failing to timely report your work-related injury within an exact 90 days of the accident can lead to disqualification for receiving benefits at all!
After filing the injury report with your employer, you next need to file a workers’ comp claim. While your employer’s representative will most likely file one with the SC Workers’ Compensation Commission, you, the injured worker, also need to file your own claim. This claim must be filed with the Commission within two years of the date the accident occurred in order to preserve your full rights to benefits.
If you are a dependent of an employee involved in a fatal workplace accident, you must file the claim within the two-year timeframe from the first day of injury and death in order to protect the right to compensation.
To file, the injured employee must begin the claim process by completing the downloadable workplace injury claim form (Form 50) from the Commission’s website. A dependent of a deceased employee must file a workplace death claim form (Form 52). These claims must be submitted directly to the Workers’ Compensation Commission before the two-year deadline. The filing of this claim does not require any fees.
Does Workers’ Comp Cover Employees Who Have Passed Away from Their Injury?
Workers’ compensation insurance does cover employees who pass away as a result of an injury sustained during a workplace accident. A spouse, child under 18, or adult child dependent wholly on his or her parents are entitled to workers’ comp benefits, including medical expenses, when their family member dies from an on-the-job injury.
The death benefits you can receive are two-thirds of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage. This amount can be paid to you for up to 500 weeks. You can also receive up to $12,000 for burial and funeral costs in South Carolina.
How Long May I Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits in South Carolina?
How long you or your dependents may receive workers’ compensation disability benefits in South Carolina can vary and will depend on your impairment rating and whether it falls under temporary or permanent disability.
Under temporary disability, workers’ comp benefits can continue until your doctor expressly permits you to return to your employment (with restrictions or without) or at the point where you have reached what is referred to as maximum medical improvement.
If it has been beyond five months since the date the workplace accident occurred and your doctor has still not issued permission to return to work, the employer’s workers’ comp insurance carrier will need to take specific steps to discontinue weekly benefits.
In some cases, a workplace injury will leave you permanently disabled. If that happens, you will receive workers’ compensation disability payments for up to 500 weeks depending on the severity of your injuries. Covered medical conditions include missing fingers, toes, eyes, or limbs; loss of hearing and vision; and so forth.
However, people who undergo severe injuries such as paralysis or brain damage, or suffer permanent total disability will receive workers’ compensation disability payments for the rest of their life. (S.C. Code § 42-9-30)
Why Should I Hire a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Hiring a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney can help you not only recover lost wage benefits but also represent you throughout the hearing process if it has to go that far. You may even want to work with an attorney to help you file your workers’ comp claim to help you obtain the maximum benefit.
Situations in which you will benefit from working with an attorney include:
- You receive a denial of your claim.
- The benefit amount of a claim is not paid promptly.
- A settlement offer covers medical benefits but fails to cover wage loss benefits.
- Your workplace injury results in medical conditions that limit your work abilities, keeps you from resuming your prior employment, or prevents you from performing any of the work at all.
Also, if you are claiming that as a result of your work injury, you have become permanently disabled from returning to any work, you need to protect your right to file for future benefits under social security disability.
In cases where your employee’s insurance company has not filed a claim report, denied your claim, or you feel you are not receiving all of your entitled income benefits, your attorney can file a request for a hearing to the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Judicial Department.
A hearing will be scheduled where a South Carolina Workers’ Comp Commissioner will receive evidence and hear testimony before making a decision whether you are to receive compensation and, if so, which benefits are due to you.
Essentially, then, your attorney can file your claim, negotiate a settlement on your behalf with the insurance company, navigate the hearing process, and protect your rights.
At HawkLaw, We’ll Fight for Your Peace of Mind
When it comes to workplace injuries, you need to know your rights and to what workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled. The personal injury lawyers at HawkLaw know the process for filing workers’ comp claims and can fight for all the benefits you so rightfully deserve. Request a free consultation* today by calling 888-HAWKLAW or go online and fill out our online contact form.