What You Should Know about Workers’ Compensation Claims in South Carolina
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.
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides financial and medical benefits for people who have suffered work-related injuries.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 34,000 people in South Carolina sustained work-related injuries in 2019. Each one of those injuries could potentially lead to costly medical bills and missed time at work.
Without a support system, a workplace injury could leave you in financial trouble. Fortunately, if you suffered a work-related injury or illness, you may be able to collect benefits by filing a workers’ compensation claim. When you know your rights as an employee and how to file a claim for workers’ compensation, you can help ensure that you get the benefits you are entitled to.
When to Make a Workers’ Compensation Claim in South Carolina
Workers’ compensation will apply to traumatic injuries, injuries caused by repetitive motions, and work-related illnesses. If your ailment is work-related, it may be time to file a workers’ compensation claim.
When is an Injury Work-Related?
Work-related injuries include the following:
- Injuries that occurred while you were working
- Injuries or illnesses developed over time because of your job
- Existing injuries made worse by your job
You might file a workers’ compensation claim because of a traumatic injury, like a broken bone caused by a fall or a concussion from being struck by an object. If you developed carpal tunnel syndrome because of an office job, that injury could also qualify for benefits.
Other claims can include a disease stemming from your job. One compelling example of work-related disease is mesothelioma, which develops in people exposed to asbestos.
Can I File for Workers’ Compensation if I Caused my Injury?
Yes, you can still collect workers’ compensation if you caused your own injury. If you slipped on a slick floor at work because you spilled something, you may be able to recover benefits. In this way, workers’ compensation is different from a personal injury claim. To recover benefits through South Carolina’s workers’ compensation system, you do not need to prove that someone else is at fault for your injury.
However, there are some cases where your conduct might prevent you from collecting benefits, such as:
- If you were hurt while engaged in a fight with another worker
- If you were drunk or on drugs on the job
- If you were engaged in a crime while working
What do I Benefit from South Carolina Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation provides benefits to injured employees that cover medical care and rehabilitation for their injuries. If your injury or illness caused you to lose income, the benefits could cover a portion of your lost earnings. Typically, the payments amount to about two-thirds of your normal income.
Title 42 of the South Carolina Code of Laws states that the maximum weekly benefits are two-thirds of the average income for employees in the state. In 2021, the maximum amount of compensation that South Carolina workers’ compensation offers an injured person is $903.40 a week – even if that number falls short of two-thirds of your normal income.
These numbers increase each year to reflect the current income level for statewide workers.
How to Make a Workers’ Compensation Claim in South Carolina
Following a workplace injury, you have strict time limits for filing your claim. You have 90 days to notify your employer following a work-related accident.
However, there are exempt cases where this may not apply. For instance, an injury that developed over a long period will not have an exact start date. The same applies to injuries that severely incapacitated you.
You may also avoid the time limit if your employer prevented you from making a formal notification or if you can prove that your employer already knew about the injury.
Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim or Does my Employer?
In many cases, your employer will file a workers’ compensation claim once they know about your injury. If they do not file within ten days, you have two years to file on your own behalf.
If your employer denies that you sustained an injury or claims your injury is not related to your job, you will have to file the claim yourself. You may also want to file a claim if you believe that your employer downplayed your injuries to make them seem less serious.
Can I Challenge a Workers’ Compensation Decision in South Carolina?
Sometimes, the state commission may deny claims for workers’ compensation benefits. If this happens, you can request a formal hearing. The hearing is where you will present your evidence and argue why you should recover benefits.
If the panel does not side with you, you can appeal the decision. You will only have fourteen days to file your appeal, so don’t wait to take action.
Williams & Kamb Can Handle Your Workers’ Compensation Claim in South Carolina
At Williams & Kamb, we have been solely practicing workers’ compensation law for over 3 decades and can put our expertise to use for you.
We will help you prepare your case by:
- Gathering evidence
- Taking depositions
- Presenting your case to the commission
The workers’ compensation system can be complicated. We will evaluate your claim, answer your questions, and do what it takes to get you what you deserve so that you can focus on taking care of yourself and your family.