Burn Injuries

Burn injuries typically occur as a result of workplace accidents involving fires, explosions, or exposure to hazardous materials. The consequences can be severe and life-altering when the skin and underlying tissues suffer burns.

The severity of burn injuries can vary widely, depending on factors such as the extent of tissue damage, the location of the burns, and the source of the heat or chemicals. Burn injuries can result in a range of physical and psychological effects, which may include:

  • Pain and suffering. Burn injuries are often excruciatingly painful, and the recovery process can be long and arduous.
  • Disfigurement. Severe burns can cause significant scarring and disfigurement, which may impact a worker's self-esteem and quality of life.
  • Reduced mobility. Burn injuries that affect joints or muscles can lead to reduced mobility and functional impairment.
  • Emotional distress. The psychological trauma associated with burn injuries can include symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Burn injury treatment often involves extensive medical interventions, including surgeries, skin grafts, and rehabilitation.


Losing an arm, leg, hand, foot, finger, or toe will change your life forever. Amputations can occur due to a variety of workplace accidents, including machinery mishaps, equipment malfunctions, or traumatic incidents. The consequences of an amputation extend far beyond the immediate injury, affecting every aspect of a worker's life. Some of the significant effects of amputations include:

  • Physical challenges, including difficulties with mobility, balance, and performing everyday tasks.
  • Prosthetic needs, including prosthetic limbs or devices that may require frequent adjustments and occasional replacements
  • Loss of independence because you may require assistance with daily activities you once performed effortlessly
  • Psychological issues, including grief, depression, and anxiety
  • Career consequences if you are unable to do your job
  • Social and emotional challenges, such as changes in social relationships and self-esteem

Crush Injuries or Multiple Complex Fractures

These injuries often occur in industrial settings, construction sites, or other workplaces where heavy machinery, equipment, or materials are used. A crush injury or multiple bone fracture can cause:

  • Severe pain
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Compartment syndrome
  • Infection risk
  • Amputation risk
  • Long-term disability
  • Psychological issues
  • Loss of income

Your recovery may include multiple surgeries and extensive physical therapy and rehabilitation. 

Organ Damage

Any of your vital internal organs, including your heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver, can be injured in a catastrophic work accident. Heaving machinery accidents, falls, direct impacts, and exposure to hazardous materials are all risks for organ damage.

The effects of organ damage can be wide-ranging, impacting physical health and overall well-being. Some of the significant consequences of organ damage include:

  • Life-threatening medical conditions
  • Impaired organ function that requires medical care, medications, or organ transplant
  • Ongoing pain
  • Other medical risks like infection or internal bleeding
  • Emotional issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Loss of quality of life 
  • Reduced life expectancy
  • Financial strain

The specific effects of organ damage can vary depending on the type of injury and the organs affected. 

Am I Eligible for Workers' Compensation In South Carolina?

If you work for a South Carolina business or company with at least four employees, your employer is required to carry workers' compensation insurance. Workers' comp provides coverage for workers who are injured or become ill due to work-related accidents or conditions. 

Because workers' comp is no-fault coverage, you don't have to prove that your employer was negligent or did anything wrong to cause your injury. Even if you were at fault and caused your own injury or illness, you may still file a claim with your employer's insurance company for your medical expenses and up to two-thirds of wages lost due to your work-related accident

Shortly after your claim is approved, you should start receiving weekly benefits equal to approximately two-thirds of your wages, and all your medical bills should be paid. The number of weeks for which you'll receive benefits depends on how long it takes you to recover. If you reach the stage of maximum medical improvement (MMI) and your doctor releases you to return to your previous job, your benefits will end. If you cannot return to the job you did before your injury, you might be given job restrictions and receive a disability rating.

What to Do After a Work Accident In South Carolina

If you are injured on the job, you have 90 days to report your injury to your employer, who should report it to the insurance carrier within ten days. 

You have two years to file a workers' comp claim, but you should not wait. Waiting to report your injury or to file could give the employer's insurance company a reason to dispute your claim, saying that you would not have waited if your condition had been serious. To prevent this kind of dispute, you should do all of the following immediately after your accident:

  • Report your accident and injury to your employer, preferably in writing. 
  • If your employer does not file a workers' comp claim on your behalf or disputes your work-related injury report, file your claim with Form 50, available from the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (SCWCC).
  • See the doctor recommended by the insurance company. 
  • Follow that doctor's orders and treatment recommendations carefully.
  • Consult an attorney if your employer or the insurance company disputes your claim or does not cooperate.

South Carolina Workers' Compensation Benefits for Permanent Disabilities

You may recover workers' compensation benefits for a permanent total disability or a permanent partial disability.

Permanent Total Disability

If your permanent disability makes it impossible for you ever to return to your job, even on light duty, you're entitled to total disability benefits. You are presumed to be permanently and totally disabled if you have lost the use of (or had amputated, in the case of limbs) any of the following:

  • Both eyes
  • Both hips
  • Both legs
  • Both feet
  • Both shoulders
  • Both arms
  • 50% of the use of your back
  • Two different body parts 

For permanent total disability, you can collect two-thirds of your average weekly wage for up to 500 weeks, which is a little less than ten years. This time limit does not apply, however, if your injury has left you in any of the following conditions:

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

With any of these three conditions, you can receive benefits for life. 

Permanent Partial Disability

If your disability is permanent but only partial, the category of the disability determines how long you can receive lost-wage benefits:

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

Lost Earning Capacity

Workers' compensation claimants with permanent disabilities may choose to collect benefits according to the medical model outlined above or an economic model, which bases benefits on earnings lost due to permanent work-related injury or illness. If you choose to have your benefits calculated according to the economic model, you should receive either: 

  • Two-thirds of your pre-injury wages
  • Two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury wages and your current wages

If your injury is catastrophic but not permanent, you may still be eligible for other workers' compensation damages.

You have a lot at stake and deserve a fair recovery consistent with South Carolina workers' compensation law.

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