person viewing workers compensation form on laptop computer | SC Workers' Compensation LawyerThere are a few different ways to find out whether your South Carolina employer carries workers' compensation insurance. Workers' comp provides no-fault coverage of employees' work-related accidental injuries and occupational diseases. If you're hurt or become ill in the course and scope of performing your job duties, you may file a claim for workers' comp benefits.

If your claim is successful, your benefits will cover all medical expenses and two-thirds of the wages you lose while off work for treatment and recovery. In some cases, disability benefits and vocational re-training are available, as well. If you've lost a loved one to a work-related injury or illness, you may file a claim for workers' comp death benefits.

Employers Required to Carry Workers' Comp

In South Carolina, most businesses and companies with four or more employees are required by law to carry workers' comp, but there are some exceptions. The following employers may choose to purchase workers' comp coverage if they want to, but they are not required to do so:

  • Businesses with fewer than four employees
  • Companies with yearly payrolls of less than $3,000
  • Railroads and railway express companies
  • Agricultural businesses
  • State and county fair associations

It should be easy enough for an employee of a company like those listed above to find out from a supervisor whether the business carries workers' comp, but if you can't find out on the job, you can check the website of the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (SCWCC). By clicking the "verify coverage" link, you should be able to determine whether your employer is covered.

Employees Who Are Not Eligible for Workers' Comp Coverage

There are some employees who are not eligible for workers' comp even if the employer has coverage. Employees who may not collect South Carolina workers' comp benefits include:

  • Federal employees of the state (who have their own Federal workers' comp system)
  • Commissioned real estate agents working for brokers
  • Members of limited liability corporations (LLCs)
  • Sole proprietors
  • Casual employees working on an as-needed basis
  • Independent contractors

Typically, an independent contractor who receives a 1099 wage statement at the end of each year is not eligible for benefits, but this is not always the case. On construction sites, for example, there's a high risk of on-the-job injuries due to the use of heavy equipment, the chances of being hit by a falling object, and the likelihood of slip-and-fall mishaps. For this reason, a general contractor could possibly compel all subcontractors on a job site to purchase worker's comp insurance to cover injuries sustained by construction workers.

Fraudulent Categorization of Employees

There are also some employers who fraudulently list all their employees as independent contractors to avoid the expense of workers' comp insurance premiums and other costs. If you feel you've been incorrectly categorized as an independent contractor, you should consult a workers' comp attorney immediately after sustaining an accidental on-the-job injury.

For Those Who Are Not Covered

If you're hurt while working for an employer that does not fall into an exempt category but still fails to carry workers' comp, you could possibly file a compensation claim with the South Carolina Uninsured Employers' Fund (UEF).

If you can prove that you were injured due to negligence on the part of an employer that does not carry workers' comp, you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against that employer. The services of an attorney are highly recommended in either of these cases.

Third-Party Lawsuits

If your employer carries workers' comp, you may not sue the company for damages resulting from a work-related injury. A workers' comp claim is your only recourse for compensation. If, however, a third party who is not employed by your company is completely or partially responsible for your on-the-job injury, you could possibly file a lawsuit against that third party. Examples include:

  • An outside cleaning company whose employee spills liquid on the floor and negligently causes you to slip and fall
  • The manufacturer of equipment or machinery that malfunctions in your workplace and causes you to sustain cuts, burns, or broken bones

A third-party suit against such a defendant might provide you compensation for the one-third of your lost wages that workers' comp does not cover. Such a suit could also result in compensation for your pain and suffering, which workers' comp does not pay. Your workers' comp attorney can help you to file a workers' comp claim against your employer's insurer and/or to identify a liable third party and proceed with a personal injury suit if necessary.

Have You Been Injured on the Job in Charleston, South Carolina?

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 ConwayMyrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. PleasantNorth Myrtle Beach, Florence or North Charleston office locations.


Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.