Contact a workers’ compensation attorney to learn about your options. If you work for a South Carolina company or business that has four or more employees, your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which is no-fault coverage for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses.
If you are hurt on the job, you have 90 days to report the injury to your employer. The statute of limitations then gives you two years from the date of the accident to file a workers’ compensation claim for your medical expenses and up to two-thirds of wages lost due to your injury or illness. Your employer may not fire you or retaliate against you in any other way for filing a workers’ comp claim.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations Following A Horry County, SC Workers' Compensation Claim
In general, if you fail to report your injury to your employer within 90 days and/or fail to file your workers’ comp claim within two years, the statute of limitations will run out, your claim will be barred, and you will receive no benefits. There are, however, some exceptions to these deadlines:
Repetitive trauma injuries.
Unlike most work-related injuries, which occur on a particular date when an accident happens, repetitive trauma injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, back trouble, or hearing loss develop over time. If you suffer this kind of injury, you have 90 days from the time you know that you have the condition to report it and two years from that time to file your workers’ comp claim—as long as it has been no more than seven years since you were last exposed to repetitive trauma at work.
Asbestosis, dermatitis, knee/elbow/shoulder conditions, and other such diseases also develop over time, so you cannot report them until you know about them. Once you’ve been diagnosed with such a disease, you must report it within 90 days and file your workers’ comp claim within the two-year statute of limitations.
If it is clear that your employer knows about your accident/injury, you have no duty to report it, but you still have only two years to file your claim.
If you are under the age of 18 when you sustain your injury, the statute of limitations “tolls” or pauses until your 18th birthday—after which you have two years to file your claim.
Physical or mental disability.
If you are unable to report your injury because of physical or mental disability, the statute of limitations tolls until you are able to do so or until you pass away. Then, either you or your surviving family members have two years to file a claim.
If a worker dies as a result of a fatal workplace accident or disease, surviving family members do not have to report the death within 90 days. They do, however, have to file a workers’ comp death claim within the two-year statute of limitations. If the employee is given a diagnosis of a terminal condition weeks or months before passing away, the statute might not toll, so it is best to report a fatal diagnosis to the employer soon after it’s received.
South Carolina No-Fault Workers’ Compensation Claims Accompanied by Personal Injury Lawsuits
A workers’ compensation claim does not have to prove any wrongdoing or negligence by the employer. The injured worker can receive benefits regardless of whose fault the accident is. In some cases, though, there might be a negligent third party involved. For example, if a truck driver is injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver who has no connection to the trucking company, the trucker has three years to sue that negligent driver, but the statute of limitations for the workers’ comp claim is still just two years. An experienced lawyer can help you to file your claim and/or lawsuit within the proper time period.
Have You Failed to Report Your Horry County Work-Related Injury Within the Legal Time Limit?
Find out if any of the above exceptions apply to you by consulting an experienced workers’ comp attorney. Please contact us online, start a chat, or call our Charleston office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Horry County and surrounding areas, so we’re sure to have an office near you.