Are You a Seasonal Worker or Casual Employee?
As long as you have a full- or part-time schedule during your term of employment and receive regular payments from your employer, you're considered a seasonal employee. Examples of seasonal workers include:
- Retail employees hired to work during the busy holiday season
- Tax preparers who generally work from January 1 through April 15
- Students who work during their summer vacations as lifeguards or amusement park employees
As a seasonal worker, you're eligible for workers' comp benefits from your first day if you're injured on the job. If, on the other hand, you show up on an as-needed basis to do odd jobs such as cutting grass or removing snow for job-by-job payment, you would be considered a casual worker who is not eligible for benefits.
Workers' Comp Benefits You Should Be Awarded
A seasonal employee who sustains an accidental injury or becomes ill in the course of performing job duties is entitled to the following workers' comp benefits:
- All medical expenses
- Two-thirds of wages lost due to time off work for treatment and recovery
- Disability payments or vocational re-training in some cases
Limited Weekly Benefits for Seasonal Employees
Seasonal workers may collect weekly wage-loss benefits only for the number of weeks they would have worked had they not been injured. If you get hurt on your summer job one month before your employment ends, you may collect wage-loss benefits for that one month only unless you can prove that your injury prevents you from doing another job that you were scheduled to start after finishing your seasonal summer job.
Handling the Insurance Company
Your employer's insurer, which pays workers' comp benefits, is looking for reasons to deny claims and save money. It may take advantage of the seasonal nature of your work to allege that you're really a casual worker, that your injury is not work-related, or that you're ineligible for some other reason. When this happens, the services of an attorney may be necessary to help you get fair benefits.
Exceptions to the South Carolina Workers' Comp Requirement
While most South Carolina employers must carry workers' comp and most year-round and seasonal employees are eligible for benefits, there are some exempt businesses and some ineligible workers.
The following types of companies and businesses are not required to carry workers' comp insurance in South Carolina:
- Those with fewer than four employees or a yearly payroll of less than $3,000
- Agricultural businesses
- County and state fair associations
The following employees are not eligible for workers' comp benefits in SC:
- Federal employees of the state (who have their own federal workers' comp program)
- Agricultural workers and salespersons
- Railroad employees
- Commissioned real-estate agents
- Independent contractors
- Casual employees
If your employer is exempt or you're ineligible, a workers' comp attorney might be able to help you seek other sources of compensation for a work-related injury.
If You Were Hurt on the Job
If you're an eligible seasonal worker injured on the job, you should report your injury immediately to your supervisor, file your claim for benefits with Form 50 from the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (SCWCC) website, and seek medical care from a physician approved by your employer's insurance company. Follow that doctor's orders meticulously and retain receipts for all your treatments. Consult a workers' comp lawyer as soon as possible to be sure you carry out the claim process correctly and meet all deadlines set by the SCWCC. And most importantly, contact The Derrick Law Firm as soon as possible.