Almost every company or business in South Carolina with four or more employees is required to carry workers' comp insurance, which provides no-fault coverage for employees' on-the-job injuries and illnesses. You don't have to prove negligence on your employer's part to file a claim for benefits, and you cannot be fired for doing so.
Options for Time Off Work Due to a Work-Related Injury or Illness
There are three options for receiving all or part of your salary while you're off work due to an on-the-job injury in Florence. You must make your selection in writing, and it must be signed not only by you but also by the supervisor or claims administrator who explains your options to you. Once you've made your selection, it cannot be changed.
Option One: Use Sick Time
Since workers' comp provides only two-thirds of lost wages, a worker who is eligible for sick leave, annual leave, or other paid time off may choose to use that time so as to receive a full salary during treatment and recovery. If you use all your sick leave or other paid time off before returning to work, you will then be eligible for the two-thirds of wage reimbursement provided by workers' compensation.
Option Two: Don't Use Sick Time
Workers who are eligible for sick time or other paid time off may choose not to use that time. They will then receive only the two-thirds of their weekly wages that workers' comp provides for a maximum number of weeks, depending on the specifics of the injury or illness in question.
Option Three: Use Pro-Rated Sick Time
Employees who are eligible for paid leave can choose to receive only a pro-rated amount of their time to make up the one-third of their wages that workers' comp does not pay. The pro-rated amount must follow the formula established by the Department of Administration.
Workers' Comp Wage Reimbursement Schedule
Weekly workers' comp wage reimbursement begins only after you've been off work for seven consecutive days. If your total time off work is between eight and fourteen days, you'll receive compensation for the days you missed from work during your second week off. If you're off for fifteen consecutive days or longer, you'll receive compensation retroactive to your first day off after being injured. Your weekly workers' comp benefits may not be greater than your average net weekly salary.
Are You Experiencing Insurance Company Delays?
If your claim is expensive or complicated, your employer's insurance company, which actually pays workers' comp benefits, could delay or deny your claim in order to save money. If this happens, you might have to take advantage of any sick leave for which you're eligible if you find yourself with no money coming in and medical bills piling up. A workers' comp attorney, however, can help you to:
- Find alternative sources of compensation, such as your own auto or health insurance.
- Counter the insurer's delaying tactics.
- Request a hearing or commission review before the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (SCWCC).
- Appeal your denied claim to the SC Court of Appeals if necessary.
What to Do If You Suffer a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Illness in SC
As soon as your injury occurs or you become aware of your occupational illness, you should follow the steps below to begin the workers' comp claims process.
Report and File
Report your injury or illness in writing as soon as possible to your supervisor or a claims administrator at your workplace. If your employer does not file your claim with the SCWCC within ten days, do so yourself by using Form 50, which is available on the SCWCC website. Although you have 90 days to report and two years to file, you should do both right away. Any delay on your part could hurt your claim.
Seek Medical Attention
You must receive your diagnosis and treatment from a physician who is certified by your employer's insurance company (not your own doctor). Follow all this doctor's advice and treatment plans conscientiously, keep all appointments, take medication as prescribed, and retain receipts and other documentation of your treatment.
Consult a Lawyer
We recommend you contact a workers' comp attorney for a consultation if:
- Your claim is expensive or complex.
- Your employer retaliates against you for filing.
- The insurer is slow to provide benefits or approve treatment.
- Your claim is denied.
Have You Been Injured on the Job in 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 Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach, Florence or North Charleston office locations.