If you suffer a work-related injury or occupational illness while working in one state and living in another, you must file your workers’ compensation claim in the state where you work—not where you live.
Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance that almost every South Carolina company with four or more employees must carry. If you’re injured on the job, workers’ comp should cover:
- All your medical expenses
- Approximately two-thirds of your lost wages
- Vocational re-training
- Death benefit/funeral expenses
You may not be fired for filing a claim, and you don’t have to prove your employer did anything wrong to cause your injury or illness. Even if you caused your own accident, you may still file for benefits.
South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Exceptions
Each state in the U.S. administers its own workers’ comp program. In South Carolina, the program is overseen by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC). Its deadlines and other procedural requirements differ slightly from those of other states. For this reason, you must file your workers’ comp claim in South Carolina if that’s where you work and where you sustained your work-related injury or developed your occupational illness.
The only exceptions to this rule are certain employers not required by law to purchase workers’ comp coverage and certain employees who aren’t eligible to receive it:
- Railroad workers
- Real estate agents
- Business partners
- Sole proprietors
- Workers in a company with fewer than four employees
- Agricultural workers
- Independent contractors or casual employees
- Federal employees working in South Carolina
Filing a South Carolina Claim
If you do not fall into one of the exempt/ineligible categories above, you should begin the following process as soon as you’re injured or diagnosed with an occupational illness:
- Report your injury or illness to your boss or a claims administrator at your workplace. You have 90 days to do this, but you should not wait.
- File a Form 50 (or 52 for the death of a loved one) via the SCWCC website. Although you have two years to file, don’t wait.
- See the doctor recommended by your employer’s insurance company (not your own doctor).
- Follow all treatment guidelines and take medications as prescribed.
- Keep receipts and documentation of all medical treatment or related expenses.
- Consult a workers’ comp attorney if:
- Your claim is denied.
- You’re offered insufficient benefits.
- The insurance company is slow to approve necessary treatments.
- You don’t feel your treatment is helping you recover.
- You’re cleared to return to work before you feel you’re ready.
State vs. Federal Workers’ Comp
Although Federal employees aren’t eligible for state workers’ comp, they’re covered by Federal workers’ comp under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), The program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor. If you’re a Federal employee who suffers a work-related injury in South Carolina:
- Report it to the health office in your workplace.
- Fill out a “Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation” form and submit it to your direct superior, who will forward it to the nearest Federal district office.
- You will be informed whether your claim is being pursued or denied; if it’s denied, you may appeal.
- Seek medical attention from the doctor of your choice.
- If your claim is accepted:
- Federal workers’ comp should cover all your out-of-pocket expenses, including medical bills and vocational re-training.
- Your employer will pay 100% of your wages for up to 45 days, after which Federal workers comp will pay you a slightly reduced rate until you return to work.
- You’re eligible for a cash settlement in addition to lost wages if you’re disabled.
You have three years from the time of your injury to file a claim. After that point, your claim can be barred unless you show that your boss was made aware of your injury (or the death of a loved one) within 30 days.
Have You Been Injured On The Job?
If you've been hurt at your job you can speak with a workers' compensation lawyer. Please contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.