If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident in South Carolina, chances are you have a lot of questions about your future. It can be scary to have so much uncertainty surrounding your job and finances. Thankfully, calculating the amount of workers’ compensation benefits you stand to receive if out of work for a sustained period of time is relatively straightforward. To find out more about determining the amount of your South Carolina workers’ compensation benefits, keep reading.
What’s an AWW?
AWW refers to a worker’s Average Weekly Wage, an important number that helps make it easy to calculate what benefits you stand to collect in a South Carolina workers’ compensation case. AWW is the basis for all disability benefits, as the workers’ comp system bases its payments on a percentage of the injured workers’ AWW.
How to calculate your AWW
As the most important factor in determining the ultimate value of your workers’ comp claim, it’s crucial to understand how to calculate your AWW. AWW is typically calculated by looking at the actual amount of money a worker has earned, including overtime, over a certain period of time, up to a full year prior to the injury. For workers who had two jobs at the time of their injury, the good news is that both of those wages can be included when determining your AWW. That amount is then divided by the same number of weeks to arrive at your AWW. Although some high-income earners might be pleasantly surprised with the AWW figure, the bad news is that in South Carolina the maximum amount you can receive in benefits is capped by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act.
What is the minimum and maximum benefit?
Under South Carolina law, legislators created a ceiling and a floor when it comes to workers’ comp benefits. Although workers are entitled to two-thirds of their AWW (66 and 2/3 percent), this is constrained by a minimum and maximum benefit range. At the low end, the state has said that the minimum compensation allowed is $75 per week, unless that amount is greater than what the employee would have earned prior to the injury. If so, then the floor becomes that worker’s actual weekly wage.
The maximum can be disappointing to workers with good jobs or those who frequently work overtime, thus boosting their AWW. The law says that the maximum weekly benefits are capped at the average weekly wage for the state, which, according to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, comes to $752.16. That means that no one, regardless of how large your income may be, will receive more than that in weekly workers’ comp benefits.
What benefits are you entitled to?
The law in South Carolina is clear that an injured worker is entitled to compensation for medical bills and treatment, lost wages during the course of the disability, and compensation for any permanent disability or disfigurement. If employees are unable to work for a period of at least seven days, then that employee will be eligible for payment of lost wages. If the disability lasts even longer, then the workers’ comp benefits can continue for up to 500 weeks, according to the percentage of disability and the schedules for the type of injury that are set out by statute.
Although it is almost inevitable that accidents will happen at work, under South Carolina law, employers are still responsible for keeping the workplace safe for all staff members. If you have been hurt on the job, contact Workers Comp Lawyer David R. Price, Jr., P.A., to learn more about how to file for workers’ compensation benefits.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.