SC Workers’ Compensation Laws and Regulations
The information in this article is not intended as legal advice or as a substitute for the advice of your own attorney. For specific legal advice, you should contact and retain an attorney.
Those injured on the job may be entitled to protection under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act.
This legislation was created to give you financial and medical protection you deserve should you ever suffer an injury during, or as a result of, carrying out your work duties.
This legislation is, however, somewhat complex. Ultimately, acquiring compensation requires you to understand:
- Whether the SC Workers’ Compensation Act applies to you.
- Your rights and benefits under the Act.
- How to file a claim to get compensation.
- What to do if your employer disputes your claim.
Understanding these factors is crucial. Therefore, we highly recommend seeking counsel from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can explain in detail your rights and responsibilities under this Act.
We will do our best in this article to outline some key points, but it is by no means exhaustive.
What is the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act?
The SC Workers’ Compensation Act is a law that requires an employer to compensate and provide medical treatment to an employee who suffers an injury or death during, or in relation to their employment. (SC Code § 42-1-310).
Is Your Employer Required to Follow the Act?
Under the Act, an employer is defined as the State, public corporation, or any private person carrying out employment. All employers are presumed to be bound by the obligation to compensate an injured employee.
However, some employers are exempt, including:
- Employers with less than four employees.
- Employers with a payroll of less than $3000.
- A federal employer.
- A state and county fair association.
- A person selling agricultural products for an agricultural producer.
Nonetheless, if you work for an employer who falls into one of the above categories, your employer may still be bound by the Act if they have waived their exemption.
Are You an Employee Protected by the Act?
Under the Act, an employee is defined as any person working for a non-exempt employer, regardless of whether the employment is lawful or unlawful.
An employee is protected by this act, unless:
- Their employment is casual and outside of their employer’s scope of business.
- They are a licensed real estate agent working solely on commission and under an independent contractor agreement with a broker.
- They are an independent contractor, including truck drivers who hold a lease-purchase agreement or similar arrangement.
- They are a salesperson selling agricultural products for a producer who has prepared these products for sale.
If you are working for a non-exempt employer, and you do not fall into one of the above categories, then you may be entitled to compensation under this Act, as long as your injury qualifies for protection.
Did You Suffer an Injury Covered by the Act?
If you suffered an injury that was caused by or related to an accident that occurred during, or as a result of your employment, you might be entitled to compensation.
However, keep in mind that some injuries are exempt such as:
- Mental injuries, mental illness, stress, heart attacks, strokes, embolisms, or aneurysms that are not caused by a physical injury from the accident.
- Diseases that were not caused by the accident.
There are exceptions to these injuries that could still make an employee eligible for compensation. Therefore, if you have suffered any of these exempted injuries, still consult with a workers’ compensation attorney for further guidance.
What Rights Do You Have?
If you are a covered employee who has suffered an injury on the job, you may be entitled to compensation determined by either an agreement with your employer or by an award issued by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
An employee can only receive compensation for a work injury if they notify their employer within 90 days from the date of the injury or if they file a claim for compensation with the Commission within two years after the accident.
Compensation by Agreement
Upon notifying your employer about your injury, if your employer does not dispute the facts of your claim, they can enter into a compensation agreement with you. The employer must then file a copy of this agreement along with a complete medical report with the Commission for approval.
Compensation by Award
However, if the employer and employee are unable to reach an agreement, either party can file a claim with the Commission for a hearing on the compensation due. Following the hearing, the Commission will then issue a determination on the compensation award.
Amount of Compensation
The amount of compensation that you will receive is based on the type of disability you suffered. If you suffered total disability, you are entitled to weekly compensation of sixty-six and two-thirds percent of your average weekly wages. Whereas, if you suffered partial disability you are entitled to weekly compensation of sixty-six and two-thirds percent of your average weekly wages before your work injury, minus your average weekly wages after the injury.
How Can We Help You?
At Williams & Kamb, we solely practice workers’ compensation law and we have been doing so for over 30 years in the Greenville area. We want to help you establish your eligibility for workers’ compensation and to ultimately receive the compensation you deserve.
We can help you:
- Build and prove your workers’ compensation claim.
- Negotiate a settlement with your employer.
- Represent you at a hearing.