Yes, South Carolina workers' compensation generally reimburses two-thirds of the wages you lose while off work for treatment and recovery after a work-related injury or illness. Workers' comp, which almost all South Carolina businesses and companies with four or more employees must carry, should also cover your medical expenses as well as vocational re-training in some cases. Because workers' comp is no-fault insurance, you need not prove that your employer caused your injury through negligence, and you cannot be fired for filing a claim.
When You Should Talk to a Lawyer About Your Claim
Not every workers' comp claim requires the help of a lawyer. If your injury is minor, resulting in low medical bills and little time off work, you might be able to handle the claims process by yourself as long as your employer doesn't dispute your claim.
In cases of serious injuries with high medical expenses and long recovery times, however, your employer's insurer might look for ways to devalue or deny your claim to save money for the company. In such a case, you'll probably require the services of a workers' comp attorney to get the lost wages and other benefits you need and deserve.
What to Know About Filing a Claim
As soon as possible after your accidental injury, you should report it in writing to your supervisor or a claims administrator at your workplace. Although you have 90 days to do so, you should not wait. Any delay on your part gives the insurer ammunition to use against you. Your next step is to file a claim for benefits with the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (SCWCC) by submitting Form 50 from the SCWCC website. You actually have two years to do so, but again, you should not wait. Any delay on your part in reporting and filing can be cited by the insurance company as evidence that your injury is not work-related or not as serious as you claim it is.
You should then seek a medical diagnosis and treatment from a physician certified and recommended by the insurer. (You may not simply see your own doctor; doing so could damage your claim.) Follow all of this doctor's advice and adhere to all treatment guidelines. Keep your appointments, follow up on referrals, retain receipts for all your treatments, take medications as prescribed, and keep a daily journal of your treatment and recovery. If you're not satisfied with your doctor or your treatment, your attorney can help you to seek an independent medical exam (IME).
Wage Replacement for Partial vs. Total Disability
If your doctor determines that you're only partially disabled and capable of performing a light-duty job while being treated, you might be given a temporary position that pays less than your previous job did. In such a case, you could receive reimbursement for two-thirds of the difference between your current and previous salaries, but you must make every effort to carry out the light-duty job.
If you're totally unable to work or if your employer has no light-duty job to offer, you should receive two-thirds of your previous salary until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) and return to your regular position. If, however, you're still impaired, you could be given a disability rating. If your disability is long-term or permanent, your attorney can help you to seek a lump sum benefit payment.
Exempt Employers and Ineligible Employees
Some South Carolina businesses are exempt from workers' comp law. These employers may purchase workers' compensation coverage voluntarily but are not required by law to do so. Additionally, some employees are not eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits.
- State and county fair associations
- Agricultural businesses
- Railroads and railway express companies
- Businesses with annual payrolls of less than $3,000
- Employers with fewer than four employees
You can find out whether your employer carries workers comp by clicking the "verify coverage" link on the SCWCC website.
- Independent contractors
- Sole proprietors
- Members of limited liability corporations (LLCs)
- Commissioned realtors
- Federal employees of the state
If your employer is exempt or you are ineligible, a workers' comp attorney can help you seek other sources of compensation for your work-related injury or illness.
Have You Been Injured On The Job In Florence, 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 Florence office directly at 843.488.7540 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach, Charleston or North Charleston office locations.