Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have to file a personal injury claim? What if the driver who hit me is uninsured? Why do I need to hire a personal injury lawyer?

We answer these questions and many more in our collection of frequently asked questions. Unlike many websites that provide brief yes-or-no answers to important legal questions like these, we provide detailed answers to help you get a better idea of your rights, your options, and what you can hope for in the future.

If your questions are not answered here, feel free to connect with us through our website, or call us at 843-488-5360, to speak directly with us about your legal concerns.

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  • Do I have a workers’ compensation claim if I was injured in a physical fight at work?

    There are circumstances under which a workplace altercation-related injury entitles you to file a South Carolina workers’ compensation claim. You don’t have to prove your employer was at fault to collect benefits, and your employer may not fire you or retaliate against you for filing a claim

    South Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyer Derrick Law Firm

    Receiving Benefits for Workplace Violence

    The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) reports that almost two million Americans are assaulted at their workplaces annually, and the fourth leading cause of death on the job is homicide. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, workplace violence takes different forms:

    • Physical fights
    • Sabotage of equipment
    • Sexual abuse
    • Use of weapons
    • Intimidation, stalking, and harassment
    • Assault in the process of theft
    • Verbal abuse or threats

    OSHA recommends steps you can take to avoid/prevent being injured by violent behavior on the job:

    • Report suspicious or threatening behavior to your boss.
    • Know your employer’s guidelines for addressing workplace violence.
    • Avoid keeping/transporting large amounts of money; don’t make deposits/withdrawals alone.
    • Familiarize yourself with the location and use of warning/alert devices in the workplace.
    • Avoid taking sides in arguments between co-workers.
    • Don’t allow personal issues to affect your behavior on the job.

    Types of Compensable Injuries

    Showing that an injury suffered in an on-the-job fight is compensable is more difficult than proving the validity of most other workers’ comp claims. In order to collect benefits for an injury suffered on the job, you must prove that:

    • You sustained your injury in the normal course of performing your duties.
    • You didn’t injure yourself intentionally.
    • You weren’t doing anything illegal at the time of your injury.
    • You weren’t impaired by drugs or alcohol when you were injured.

    Your employer’s insurance company will look for ways to deny your claim in order to save money. Its adjusters and attorneys are paid to dispute your contention that your fight arose in the normal course of your work, but you could prevail with the help of an experienced lawyer. Some examples of potentially compensable claims are:

    • While working, you unintentionally do/say something that hurts/offends a co-worker who then intentionally retaliates against you physically.
    • A co-worker with whom you have an off-the-job acquaintance/relationship is angry with you and intentionally injures you while you’re working.
    • At work, you deal with the public and sometimes have to ask people to abide by certain company policies, regulations, or procedures. A customer gets angry with you for doing so and assaults you physically.
    • Your sales job requires you to travel, visit other businesses, or stay in hotels/motels. At a site you visit for work purposes or in a place where you spend the night, you’re assaulted by an employee, customer, or criminal intruder.
    • You’re a cashier who handles money on the job, and a thief injures you in the process of a robbery.

    Any one of the scenarios above might lead to a compensable workers’ comp claim as long as you prove that you didn’t initiate the physical contact. If it can be shown that you threw the first punch, however, then the insurance company will dispute your claim and say you intentionally put yourself at risk of physical injury. Furthermore, you could have trouble proving that an injury sustained off the job was the result of work-related violence. You might not be entitled to benefits if, for example: 

    • You have a verbal argument at work with someone who intentionally runs your car off the road on the way home.
    • You’re a traveling salesperson who stops at a bar for drinks after the day’s last appointment and is assaulted there.
    • You’re injured on a lunch break or in the parking lot before or after work, rather than in the process of doing your job.

    The complexity of proving a compensable workplace violence injury case makes the services of a lawyer necessary to maximize your chances of a successful claim.

    Have You Been Injured On The Job?

    If you've been hurt at your job you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our ConwayMyrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. PleasantNorth Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

     

  • Are there employer exemptions for workers’ compensation claims in South Carolina?

    Almost every South Carolina business with at least four employees is required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which covers employees’ work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Both for-profit and non-profit businesses are included. If you’re injured or become sick on the job, workers’ comp generally provides no-fault coverage of your:

    Charleston South Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyer Derrick Law Firm
    • Medical expenses
    • Wages lost due to time off work
    • Disability care if you can’t return to work
    • Vocational re-training in some cases
    • Death benefits (for your family if you are fatally injured)

    It’s possible, however, that you work for one of the few employers who are exempt. If so, that means your employer is not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

    Employer Exemptions

    The following types of businesses are not required by South Carolina law to carry workers’ comp:

    • Railroads/railway express companies
    • Agricultural businesses
    • State/county fair associations
    • Employers with fewer than four employees
    • Companies with an annual payroll of less than $3,000

    Such employers may choose to purchase workers’ comp coverage so that employees may file claims for benefits, but they are not required by South Carolina law to do so. 

    Employee Exemptions

    Some employees are not eligible for workers’ comp benefits even if their employers carry workers’ comp insurance. Non-covered workers include:

    • Federal employees of the state
    • Some real estate agents working for brokers
    • Casual employees working only on an as-needed basis
    • Members of Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs)
    • Sole proprietors
    • Partners
    • Independent contractors

    One employer’s definition of an independent contractor is not necessarily the same as another’s. All workers who receive 1099 wage statements are not necessarily independent contractors. Furthermore, if a subcontractor carries no workers’ comp insurance, the general contractor in charge of a job or project could be liable for workers’ on-the-job injuries, which are common in the building trades. 

    For this reason, a general contractor might require subcontractors to purchase workers’ comp insurance for their own workers. Some employees who are not automatically protected by their employers’ workers’ comp coverage might also be able to purchase insurance on their own to cover work-related injuries. If you’re hurt on the job, an experienced workers’ comp lawyer can help you determine whether you’re covered and what to do if you’re not.

    Common Workers’ Compensation Injuries and Illnesses

    Workplace accidents and conditions lead to a variety of injuries and illnesses for which employees can file workers’ comp claims:

    • Broken, fractured, or crushed bones from falls or impact with falling objects
    • Lung damage from inhaling toxic fumes
    • Repetitive motion conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome
    • Dislocated knees and torn ligaments from slip-and-fall accidents or lifting/carrying heavy objects
    • Shoulder injuries including dislocation, torn rotator cuffs, or degeneration from heavy lifting or repetitive motion
    • Spinal injuries like herniated/bulging discs, fractured/fused vertebrae, and degeneration
    • Pulled muscles and ligaments
    • Burns and lacerations
    • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)

    Conditions Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation

    Even if your employer carries workers’ comp, some conditions are not covered:  

    • Stress
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD)

    The following conditions are not covered unless related to a specific workplace injury/illness:

    • Stroke
    • Heart attack
    • Embolism
    • Aneurysm  

    What to Do If Your Employer Does Not Carry Workers’ Comp Insurance

    Although most South Carolina employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance, failure to do so is not a crime, and there is no set penalty for non-exempt employers who don’t have workers’ comp. If your employer is not exempt but does not have workers’ comp coverage, you could receive compensation through the Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF), which is overseen by the South Carolina Second Injury Fund. 

    If the UEF accepts your claim and compensates you for expenses related to your workplace injury/illness, it will then have a lien against the assets of the employer that should have paid your claim. If the UEF denies your claim, you might face a legal battle with the Second Injury Fund. Depending on the specifics of your claim, you might also be able to file a civil lawsuit against your employer or a liable third party. In such cases, the services of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney are vital to your success. You don’t want to go up against a state agency or a company/corporation without legal representation. They will have lawyers on their team. So should you.

    Have You Been Injured On The Job?

    If you've been hurt at your job you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our ConwayMyrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. PleasantNorth Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

     

  • Does South Carolina workers’ compensation provide death benefits to families of Horry County workers fatally injured on the job?

    Yes, some family members may be eligible for workers’ compensation death benefits if a loved one dies due to a work-related injury or illness—as 4,000 to 5,000 Americans have annually for the past 10 years. 

    Charleston Workers' Compensation Attorney Derrick Law Firm

    Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits

    Every South Carolina business with four or more employees is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which provides no-fault coverage for employees’ work-related injuries and illnesses. When an employee dies as a result of a workplace injury or illness, death benefits are available to family members who were wholly financially dependent on the deceased:

    • Spouse
    • Minor children
    • Adult children physically or mentally unable to support themselves
    • Adult children under 23 who are full-time students

    Adopted children, stepchildren, and illegitimate children are not considered completely dependent or eligible for death benefits unless they prove financial dependence on the deceased for more than 90 days before the time of death.

    If your deceased loved one leaves behind no wholly dependent children, partial dependents may collect benefits according to their percentage of dependence. Any remaining benefits go to:

    • Non-dependent children
    • Surviving parents of the deceased

    Collection of benefits can also be affected by exceptional circumstances:

    • The deceased received workers’ comp benefits prior to death.
    • The beneficiaries are non-resident aliens.

    Due to the complexity of the distribution system, the services of a workers’ comp attorney are highly recommended for anyone trying to prove financial dependence. 

    What South Carolina Workers’ Comp Pays

    The family of an employee who dies because of a  work-related injury or illness should generally receive:

    • Reimbursement for medical expenses incurred prior to death
    • Approximately two-thirds of the deceased’s average weekly salary (up to a weekly cap that changes annually) for 500 weeks
    • Funeral expenses up to $2,500

    Reporting and Filing

    Even though you’re mourning the loss of your loved one, it’s important to take the proper steps immediately after a work-related death:

    • Report the death to the employer or workplace claims representative.
    • File a Form 52 with the SCWCC.
    • Keep all bills, receipts, and documentation for medical and funeral expenses.
    • Consult an attorney.

    Denials and the Appeals Process For A Charleston Area Workers' Compensation Claim

    Workers’ comp death benefit claims are among the most expensive for your loved one’s employer’s insurance company to pay. If there was a significant period of time between the injury and the ensuing death, perhaps surgery or other expensive medical procedures took place. If so, the hospital bills are likely to be high. Nearly 10 years’ worth of lost wage reimbursement can also add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

    The more expensive the claim, the more likely the insurance company is to look for ways to dispute or deny it to save money. Some common reasons for death benefit claim denials are:

    • A pre-existing medical condition contributed to the on-the-job death.
    • The employer maintains the deceased worker was not an employee but an independent contractor not eligible for workers’ comp benefits.
    • The deceased employee’s injuries were self-inflicted/intentional.
    • The employee was committing a crime or under the influence of drugs/alcohol when the fatal injury occurred.
    • The employee’s fatal injury was not sustained in the course of work.  

    If your death benefit is denied, however, that is not the last word on your claim. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC) allows you to appeal the insurance company’s denial at five different levels: 

    • Informal conference
    • SCWCC hearing request
    • Commission review
    • SC Court of Appeals
    • SC Supreme Court

    Your attorney can guide you through these difficult procedures and be sure you make no mistakes that might hurt your claim. 

    Have You Been Injured On The Job?

    If you've been hurt at your job you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Conway, South Carolina office directly at 843.248.7486 to schedule your free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, Columbia, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.


     

  • Who will pay my benefits if I file a workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina?

    In most cases, workers’ compensation claims are paid by insurance companies. Almost every employer in South Carolina carries workers’ compensation insurance to cover work-related injuries and illnesses. Employees hurt on the job sometimes hesitate to file workers’ comp claims, however, because they fear their employers will take action against them for costing the company money. 

    Charleston South Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyer Derrick Law Firm

    It’s important to remember that:

    • The employer almost never bears the cost of a claim directly.
    • Your employer may not legally fire you or retaliate against you for filing a claim.

    Employees Covered by Workers’ Compensation 

    The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC)  requires essentially every company or business with four or more employers to participate in the workers’ compensation program. Almost all employees are covered, with a handful of exceptions:

    • Casual employees working on an as-needed basis
    • Agricultural employees
    • Railroad employees
    • Federal employees
    • Independent contractors such as real estate agents working for brokers
    • Employees of companies with annual payrolls of less than $3,000
    • LLC members
    • Partners in a business
    • Sole proprietors

    Workers’ Compensation Benefits In Charleston, South Carolina

    If you suffer an accident and injury in the course of doing your job, you may file a workers’ comp claim for:

    • All medical expenses related to your injury
    • Wages lost due to time off work
    • Temporary or permanent disability benefits if you’re unable to return to your job
    • Vocational retraining for a different job in some cases
    • Death benefits if a loved one dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness

    Sources of Workers’ Compensation Benefits

    There are three sources of workers’ compensation benefits: state programs, private insurance carriers, and self-insurance.

    State Program

    South Carolina employers can participate in workers’ comp through the state’s Assigned Risk Program, which is administered by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). The employer pays NCCI a regular premium in return for coverage of work-related injuries. This option is chosen most often by:

    • Small employers
    • Employers unlikely to deal with many workplace injuries

    Private Insurance Carriers

    Employers may purchase workers’ comp insurance from private carriers and pay monthly premiums just as you do for your car, health, or home insurance. The carrier is then responsible for paying workers’ compensation benefits. This is the most common option for employers.

    Self-Insurance

    An employer with sufficient financial resources can request the self-insurance option, for which the SCWCC requires three years’ worth of audited financial statements showing the company meets an established financial standard. For this reason, self-insurance is the least common workers’ comp option for employers. 

    The SCWCC oversees self-insured companies more closely than it does any others to be sure they’re operating according to state law, following procedure, accepting legitimate claims, and paying benefits in a timely manner. A self-insured employer often handles workers’ comp claims through a third-party administrator who deals with:

    • Claims processing
    • Paperwork
    • Claim management
    • Dispersing benefits 

    A self-insured employer has both a greater financial risk than others do in terms of workers’ compensation benefits and more financial resources to fight your claim. If you’ve filed a claim with a self-insured employer and have encountered disputes, denial, or slow payments, you might very well require the help of a workers’ comp attorney to get the settlement you deserve. 

    How to Report and File A Work Related Injury

    In the great majority of cases, an employer pays monthly premiums to an insurance company that has plenty of resources to pay workers’ comp benefits, so you should not hesitate to file your claim. If you’ve been injured in a work-related injury or developed an illness due to workplace conditions, you should:

    • Report your injury or illness to your employer and/or the workers’ comp claims administrator at your workplace.
    • File your own claim by requesting a form 50 from the SCWCC if your employer does not immediately file a claim on your behalf. 
    • See a doctor certified by the insurance company.
    • Follow all medical advice and treatment guidelines.

    Although you have 90 days to report your injury and two years to file your claim, you should do both right away. Any delay on your part could be cited by the insurance company as evidence that your injury or illness is not serious. If your claim is disputed or denied or your employer retaliates against you, a workers’ compensation lawyer can guide you through the appeals process to get you the benefits you deserve. 

    Have You Been Injured On The Job?

    If you've been hurt at your job you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our ConwayMyrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. PleasantNorth Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

     

  • What if my work injury doesn't heal, and I can no longer do the type of work I want to do?

    You could be eligible for workers’ compensation permanent disability benefits and vocational rehabilitation. South Carolina law requires employers with four or more employees to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, which is no-fault coverage for workers who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses.

    Charleston South Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyer Derrick Law Firm

    To file a workers’ compensation claim, you needn’t prove your employer caused your accident. Even if it was your own fault, you may still collect benefits to cover medical bills and lost wages. Your company can’t retaliate against you or fire you for filing a claim.

    Determining Your Impairment Rating For A Workers' Compensation Claim In Charleston

    If your claim is successful, your employer must keep you employed while you receive treatment. When you’ve recovered to the extent that your doctor feels you’re going to, you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). At this point, if you’re never going to recover completely from your injury, your doctor may give you an impairment rating that entitles you to permanent partial or total workers’ comp disability benefits. These benefits would cover all your medical care, along with partial compensation for lost wages.

    Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) 

    The length of time for which you may receive PPD benefits for lost wages (two-thirds of your salary) depends on your specific disability:

    • Loss of up to 49% of the use of your back: 300 weeks
    • Loss of one arm: 220 weeks
    • Loss of one leg: 195 weeks
    • Loss of vision in one eye: 140 weeks
    • Loss of one thumb: 65 weeks
    • Loss of one big toe: 32 weeks
    • Loss of one other toe: 10 weeks

    Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

    If you’ve lost or lost the use of any of the following, you’re eligible for PTD benefits, which should equal two-thirds of your average weekly wage for 500 weeks, usually paid in a lump sum:

    • 50% or more of the use of your back
    • Both shoulders
    • Both arms
    • Both legs
    • Both feet
    • Both hips
    • Both eyes
    • Two different body parts (one arm and one leg, for example)
    • Death (The deceased employee’s dependents are entitled to 500 weeks’ worth of benefits.)

    You may collect benefits essentially for life if your injury has left you:

    • Quadriplegic (arms and legs paralyzed)
    • Paraplegic (legs paralyzed)
    • Brain-damaged

    Vocational Rehabilitation

    If you are unable to return to your previous work, vocational rehabilitation services may help pay for the training you need to find a job that is suitable to your current condition. Vocational rehabilitation services can also include help with locating job opportunities, preparing a resume, and improving interviewing skills.

    How An Experienced Worker's Compensation Attorney Can Help

    If you receive an impairment rating, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC) will hold a conference to decide exactly what benefits and vocational rehabilitation services you will receive. You, your attorney, insurance company representatives, and a claims mediator will attend.

    Because disability claims are the most expensive for the insurance company, its representatives are likely to dispute your claim or offer you a low settlement. That’s why the services of a lawyer are highly recommended at this stage. It will be very hard for you to take on the insurance company by yourself when you’ve just suffered a disabling accident. Your attorney can:

    • Calculate all your medical expenses.
    • Present your evidence convincingly.
    • Negotiate with the insurance company’s lawyers to get you a fair settlement and (in some cases) vocational rehabilitation to train you for a different job

    If this conference is not successful, your lawyer can request a hearing with an SCWCC commissioner, who has the power to determine your degree of disability on the basis of your impairment rating. The insurance company must abide by the SCWCC’s decision. If you still do not get an acceptable offer, you have three more levels of appeal, all with strict rules of procedure and guidelines that your attorney can be sure you follow:

    • Commission Review
    • SC Appeals Court
    • SC Supreme Court

    Have You Been Injured On The Job?

    If you've been hurt at your job you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, Conway, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

  • I was working for my company at a house in Charleston and was bitten by the homeowner’s dog. Can I file a workers’ compensation claim?

    Yes, it’s possible that you can. When you think of work-related injuries, dog bites are probably not the first ones that come to mind, but they happen more often than you might think. Some workers who suffer dog bites on the job are:

    Workers' comp may pay for your dog bite injury. Charleston Workers' Compensation Attorney Derrick Law Firm
    • Postal workers
    • Garbage collectors
    • Lawn care technicians
    • Landscapers
    • Exterminators
    • Home remodelers/construction workers
    • Delivery drivers

    Workers' Compensation Dog Bite Injuries In Charleston, SC 

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20% of dog bites require medical treatment. Common dog bite injuries include:

    • Nerve damage
    • Eye/neck injuries
    • Fractures of small bones
    • Punctures/lacerations
    • Scarring/disfigurement
    • Infection
    • Rabies
    • MRSA
    • Psychological trauma

    Workers’ Compensation for Dog Bites

    If you work in one of the positions above or any other that sends you onto private property or into people’s homes in Charleston, your dog bite injury might be covered by South Carolina workers’ compensation insurance. If you’re one of four or more employees, your employer is required to carry workers’ comp, which provides workers who suffer job-related injuries with no-fault coverage for:

    • All medical expenses
    • Two-thirds of lost wages
    • Long-term disability care
    • Vocational retraining (if needed)

    If you’ve suffered a dog bite on the job, you may file a workers’ comp claim as long as:

    • You’re an employee of the company for whom you were working when bitten. (Neither independent contractors nor casual workers are covered.)
    • Your dog bite injury occurred by accident and arose out of/in the course of your employment.

    Filing A Worker's Compensation Claim In Charleston Following A Dog Bite

    If you’ve suffered a dog bite injury in the course of your job, you should immediately begin the claims process:

    • Report your dog bite to your employer in writing and include photos of your injuries, the location of the accident, and the dog if possible. Although you have 90 days to do so, don’t wait. Any delay on your part might be used against you by the insurance company.
    • If your employer does not file a claim on your behalf with the insurance company, request a form 50 from the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC), fill it out, and submit it. You have two years to do so, but, again, don’t wait.
    • See a doctor certified by the insurance company.
    • Follow that doctor’s orders carefully.
    • Consult an attorney if your employer does not cooperate or if the insurance company disputes your claim.

    Workers' Compensation Denials and Appeals

    If your injuries are severe, your medical expenses high, and your time off work long, the insurance company might try to deny your claim or offer you insufficient benefits in order to save money. If this happens, you have the right to five levels of appeal:

    • Informal conference
    • SCWCC hearing request
    • Commission review
    • SC Court of Appeals
    • SC Supreme Court

    At every level, there are strict rules of procedure and deadlines to meet. The services of an experienced lawyer are highly recommended for a successful appeal.

    Filing a Personal Injury Claim to Recover Additional Damages

    If your workers’ comp claim is successful, it will cover only two-thirds of your lost wages and none of your pain and suffering. You might be able to recover the rest of your damages by retaining an attorney and filing a claim against the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance company. (If you’re an independent contractor, you must file a personal injury claim for any compensation since you’re not covered by workers’ comp.)

    In South Carolina, a dog’s owner is strictly liable for your damages if the dog bites you when you are either:

    • In a public place
    • On private property (including the owner’s property) lawfully and with permission, as you would be if you were working at someone’s home

    The only possible defenses for the dog owner are:

    • You harassed or provoked the dog before you were bitten.
    • You were trespassing.

    (For your workers’ comp claim if you’re filing both, these defenses could be considered irrelevant since workers’ comp provides no-fault coverage.)

    Have You Been Injured On The Job?

    If you've been hurt at your job you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, Conway, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

     

  • I was hurt driving my company car to work in Horry County. Are my injuries covered by South Carolina workers’ compensation?

    The short answer is that it’s possible your injuries are covered. The longer answer requires some background on South Carolina workers’ compensation insurance, which is no-fault coverage for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. Every South Carolina employer with four or more employees is required to carry workers’ comp insurance to cover your medical bills and two-thirds of the wages you lose due to your injury or illness.

    Horry County South Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyer Derrick Law Firm

    Not all work-related accidents happen in the workplace. If your job requires you to work off-site or in different locations, injuries you sustain while doing so should be covered by workers’ comp.

    The Coming and Going Rule Regarding Charleston, South Carolina Workers' Compensation

    The South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (SCWCC) allows benefits for injuries suffered within the scope of employment. In general, the scope of employment doesn’t include traveling to and from work since most people aren’t paid for commuting. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule. Your accident might be covered by workers’ comp if:  

    • You’re given work-related errands to run on your way to or from work.
    • You’re asked by your employer to perform a non-work-related errand or task, like picking up lunch or coffee.
    • You’re forced to drive on dangerous roads or in unsafe areas to get to work.
    • You’re injured close to your workplace, perhaps in a parking lot due to ice or snow.
    • You’re traveling in a company-owned vehicle.

    As long as you’re authorized to use the company vehicle to commute and do not deviate significantly from your direct route, injuries you sustain traveling to or from work should generally be covered. Because workers’ comp is no-fault insurance, it doesn’t matter who causes your company car accident. 

    Whether you’re at fault or hurt by a negligent driver, workers’ comp should cover your medical bills and two-thirds of wages you lose due to your work-related injury, illness, or disability, up to a maximum weekly payment ($903.40 in 2020). If you’re disabled, the number of weeks for which you may collect benefits depends on your specific disability. 

    Workers’ Compensation vs. Liability Insurance 

    If workers’ comp benefits aren’t sufficient to cover all your damages, you might have to file both a workers’ comp claim and a claim against the at-fault driver who injured you. An experienced lawyer can help you handle the complexities of doing both at the same time.

    Although workers’ comp covers your injuries and lost wages regardless of who causes your accident, it doesn’t cover your liability if you caused the accident. The victims in the crash may file a claim for damages against you and perhaps your employer. For this reason, it’s vital that your employer have liability coverage for employees driving company-owned vehicles. 

    Vicarious Liability In Regards To Workers' Compensation

    If you are found fully or partially responsible for your accident, your employer could be vicariously liable. This means your employer might be responsible for damages caused by your negligent actions on the job, depending on exactly what you’re doing when the crash occurs. 

    Have You Been Injured On The Job?

    If you've been hurt at your job you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, Conway, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

    Your employer is likely to be vicariously liable if you’re:

    • Going to or from a training meeting
    • Going to or from any location chosen by the employer
    • Traveling to or from a meeting with a client
    • Running company errands

    Your employer might not be vicariously liable if you’re:

    • Deviating from your direct route to get coffee or food on the way to an appointment
    • Traveling to places not chosen by your employer
    • Committing a crime or driving when impaired by alcohol or drugs
    • Driving to or from work

    It’s important to remember, though, that the rules of coming and going, as well as vicarious liability, are subject to interpretation. Your case might go either way depending upon how your evidence is presented before the SCWCC or before a judge and jury if your case ends up in appeals court. Hiring an experienced workers’ comp lawyer who knows how to present your case could be the difference between getting fair compensation and owing someone else. 

  • May I collect unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation at the same time in Horry County?

    In most cases, no. Although there are some rare exceptions, you generally may not collect both unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation at the same. There are significant differences between the two programs in terms of eligibility. 

    Horry County SC Workers' Compensation Lawyer Derrick Law Firm

    Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance In South Carolina

    South Carolina unemployment insurance (UI) is paid for by employers’ tax contributions. The general guidelines for eligibility are:

    • You’re currently unemployed. 
    • The loss of your most recent job was not your fault.
    • You are able and available to work in any suitable position.
    • You are actively searching for work each week that you file a certification for UI benefits.
    • You’ve earned at least $4,455 from covered employment during your base period.
    • In your base period’s highest-earnings quarter, you earned at least $1,092 from an employer paying UI taxes.
    • Your total base period wages are at least 1.5 times your highest quarterly wage total. 

    Your standard base period is the first four of the last five calendar quarters before the start date of your claim. If your standard base period numbers do not qualify you for UI, you might qualify for benefits according to your alternate base period, which includes the four most recent calendar quarters before your claim’s effective date. 

    The only way to be sure whether you qualify for UI is to file an initial claim with the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW). Even if you are eligible for UI on the basis of earnings in your base period, you can be disqualified if:

    • You left your most recent job without good cause.
    • You retired voluntarily.
    • You were fired for cause.
    • You were fired for misconduct connected to your job.
    • You lost your job by participating in a labor strike.

    Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation In Horry County

    Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance coverage for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. Every South Carolina employer with four or more employees is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. To collect workers’ comp:

    • You must be an employee.
    • Your employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance.
    • You must have a work-related injury or illness.
    • You must meet deadlines for reporting your injury/illness and for filing a workers’ comp claim.

    If you are eligible, workers’ comp pays for your medical expenses and up to two-thirds of wages lost due to your work-related injury or illness. Your employer may not fire you or retaliate against you in any other way for filing a claim, and you do not have to prove your employer was negligent or did anything wrong. Even if you caused your own injury on the job, you may still collect benefits as long as you meet two crucial deadlines:

    • Report your injury/illness to your employer within 90 days.
    • File your claim for workers’ comp within two years. 

    These deadlines might be extended if: 

    • Your employer already knows about your accident/injury.
    • You were physically or mentally unable to notify the employer.
    • You have a repetitive motion injury that develops over time, rather than a one-time accident causing an immediate injury. 

    Unemployment Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Are Mutually Exclusive

    To receive unemployment insurance, you must be able and available to work. To receive workers’ compensation, you must be unable to work due to your injury or illness. Because you cannot meet both of these criteria at the same time, you cannot be considered eligible for both types of benefits. Trying to collect benefits for which you aren’t eligible is fraud—which could lead to criminal and/or civil penalties. 

    The only possible exception to this rule would occur if you are receiving workers’ compensation payments for permanent partial disability (PPD). In this case, you might be working with restrictions at a reduced salary while actively seeking another job that you can perform with the physical limitations caused by your work-related injury. In such a case, you could be eligible for both workers' comp and UI. An experienced workers’ comp lawyer can help you through the complicated process of filing for and receiving both types of benefits. 

    Are You Unable to Work Due to a Job-Related Injury in Horry County?

    Learn about your options by consulting an experienced workers’ comp attorney and downloading our free book, The Truth About Your South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim. Please contact us online, start a chat, or call our Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, or Conway office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Horry County and surrounding areas, so we’re sure to have an office near you. 


     

  • I was hurt on the job months ago but failed to report my injury or file a workers’ comp claim. Now I’m suffering from pain. What can I do?

    Contact a workers’ compensation attorney to learn about your options. If you work for a South Carolina company or business that has four or more employees, your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which is no-fault coverage for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. 

    If you are hurt on the job, you have 90 days to report the injury to your employer. The statute of limitations then gives you two years from the date of the accident to file a workers’ compensation claim for your medical expenses and up to two-thirds of wages lost due to your injury or illness. Your employer may not fire you or retaliate against you in any other way for filing a workers’ comp claim.

    Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations Following A Horry County, SC Workers' Compensation Claim

    In general, if you fail to report your injury to your employer within 90 days and/or fail to file your workers’ comp claim within two years, the statute of limitations will run out, your claim will be barred, and you will receive no benefits. There are, however, some exceptions to these deadlines:

    Repetitive trauma injuries.

    Unlike most work-related injuries, which occur on a particular date when an accident happens, repetitive trauma injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, back trouble, or hearing loss develop over time. If you suffer this kind of injury, you have 90 days from the time you know that you have the condition to report it and two years from that time to file your workers’ comp claim—as long as it has been no more than seven years since you were last exposed to repetitive trauma at work.

    Occupational diseases.

    Asbestosis, dermatitis, knee/elbow/shoulder conditions, and other such diseases also develop over time, so you cannot report them until you know about them. Once you’ve been diagnosed with such a disease, you must report it within 90 days and file your workers’ comp claim within the two-year statute of limitations.

    Employer’s knowledge.

    If it is clear that your employer knows about your accident/injury, you have no duty to report it, but you still have only two years to file your claim.

    Injured minors.

    If you are under the age of 18 when you sustain your injury, the statute of limitations “tolls” or pauses until your 18th birthday—after which you have two years to file your claim.

    Physical or mental disability.

    If you are unable to report your injury because of physical or mental disability, the statute of limitations tolls until you are able to do so or until you pass away. Then, either you or your surviving family members have two years to file a claim.  

    Death claims.

    If a worker dies as a result of a fatal workplace accident or disease, surviving family members do not have to report the death within 90 days. They do, however, have to file a workers’ comp death claim within the two-year statute of limitations. If the employee is given a diagnosis of a terminal condition weeks or months before passing away, the statute might not toll, so it is best to report a fatal diagnosis to the employer soon after it’s received.

    South Carolina No-Fault Workers’ Compensation Claims Accompanied by Personal Injury Lawsuits  

    A workers’ compensation claim does not have to prove any wrongdoing or negligence by the employer. The injured worker can receive benefits regardless of whose fault the accident is. In some cases, though, there might be a negligent third party involved. For example, if a truck driver is injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver who has no connection to the trucking company, the trucker has three years to sue that negligent driver, but the statute of limitations for the workers’ comp claim is still just two years. An experienced lawyer can help you to file your claim and/or lawsuit within the proper time period. 

    Have You Failed to Report Your Horry County Work-Related Injury Within the Legal Time Limit?

    Have You Been Injured On The Job?

    If you've been hurt at your job you need to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, Conway, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.

  • Can I lose my job for filing a workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina?

    No, not legally. If you work for a South Carolina company or business that has four or more employees, your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This is no-fault coverage for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. Every employee (except for federal workers, railroad employees, and a few others) is covered. If you’ve been hurt on the job, you may file a claim with your employer’s insurance company for your medical expenses and for temporary disability benefits to make up for wages lost due to your work-related injury or illness. 

    Horry County South Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyer The Derrick Law Firm

    Although some injured employees might hesitate to file workers’ compensation claims because they fear they’ll be fired, it is not legal for your employer to terminate your employment for filing a worker’s comp claim. Doing so would be considered retaliatory termination, which is against the law. Millions of employees across the country file successful workers’ compensation claims every year.

    Protection for Injured Workers In Horry County, South Carolina

    South Carolina law does not allow an employer to fire a worker who has filed a workers’ compensation claim. If companies were permitted to do so, they would have no incentive to keep their workplaces safe and secure. They could simply terminate any injured complainer and ignore the unsafe conditions that caused the employee’s accident and injury. Workplaces would become more dangerous places, and more accidents, injuries, and illnesses would result. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC) protects injured workers because it wants employers to invest in workplace safety and reduce the chances of accidents and injuries on the job. 

    Indirect Retaliation Is Also Illegal If You've Been Injured On The Job

    Although South Carolina law prohibits direct retaliatory termination, it is possible that your employer might try to retaliate indirectly against you by saying that your former position has been eliminated or that you are no longer physically able to carry out your essential job duties. For this reason, all of the following actions are prohibited by the SCWCC:

    • Forced leave
    • Workplace harassment 
    • Discriminatory treatment
    • Retaliatory termination

    You are protected against such actions from the time of your accident and injury, even before you file your claim. After you’ve filed, your employer is required to keep you on until your doctor decides you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). At that time, when you have recovered to the extent your doctor feels is possible, the company must make a reasonable attempt to accommodate any restrictions that result from the injuries you sustained and let you resume your duties. The SCWCC wants injured employees to continue working at their jobs if at all possible. 

    Do Not Wait to File For Workers' Compensation In Horry County

    If you’ve suffered a work-related injury in South Carolina, you should immediately:

    • Report your accident and injury to your employer.
    • Report your accident and injury to whoever handles workers’ comp cases in your workplace.
    • File a workers’ compensation claim with your employer’s insurance carrier. 
    • Seek medical attention from the doctor recommended by the insurance company.
    • Follow this doctor’s advice and treatment recommendations carefully. 

    Although you have 90 days to report your injury, you should not wait to do so. Filing your claim as soon as possible increases your chance of success. You don’t want to give the insurance company any reason to say your injury was not serious or that you made it worse by not getting timely treatment or not following the doctor’s orders.

    If the insurance company disputes your claim or you believe you’ve been unjustly fired, harassed, or discriminated against in retaliation for filing, an experienced attorney can help you to request a hearing before the SCWCC or to file a retaliatory termination lawsuit against your employer. 

    Have You Been Fired in Retaliation for Filing a Worker’s Compensation Claim in South Carolina?

    Take the first step toward justice by consulting an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Please contact us online, start a chat, or call our Charleston office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Horry County and surrounding areas, so we’re sure to have an office near you. We accept cases on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay no attorney fees until we win your case.