Have you been injured on the job? If so, you are one of many people that work long hours every single day, enduring physical labor regularly that inevitably takes its toll on their bodies and minds. Many jobs place substantial stress on workers’ bodies, resulting in work-related injuries that can leave a person unable to carry out their job-related duties. Fortunately, if you have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
Can I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim Even If I Was Full or Partially At-Fault for My Work Related Injury?
The beauty of workers’ compensation is that “fault” is largely irrelevant to whether a person is entitled to compensation for their claim. Workers’ compensation claims are quite different from third-party claims in the civil arena, where an individual defendant is typically liable only for those injuries and damages resulting from his or her negligence. In third-party civil claims, compensation for injuries is typically not awarded absent a finding of fault.
However, for good reason, this is not the case with respect to a workers’ compensation claim. With regard to work-related injuries, South Carolina has enacted laws that allow workers to receive compensation for their work-related injuries regardless of fault.
For instance, take the following example:
Say that a person is working as a welder and accidentally drops his welding tool, resulting in serious injury to his foot. Also, further assume for our purposes that the welding instrument was in perfect working condition, and that his employer had all necessary precautions in place to protect against injuries such as this. If this were a civil claim, a welder injured in an accident that was not caused by any other individual’s negligence would not be entitled to recover compensation from any third-party. However, if the welder was injured on the job, then he would be entitled to compensation under the workers’ compensation laws, regardless of whether or not his employer was negligent or otherwise caused his injury.
Why is Workers’ Compensation a No-Fault System?
Employers are engaged in a business venture, where they incur costs of doing business in order to provide a product that they sell for more than it cost them to provide it. The policy behind the no-fault system underlying workers’ compensation claims takes this reality into consideration. The legal system has recognized that compensation for employees that have been injured on the job should be viewed as yet another cost of doing business that employers should be responsible for paying, regardless of any independent finding of negligence.
Foregoing the requirement that an injured employee prove fault not only looks out for the best interests of employees, but it also saves time and places costs where they logically should be placed: In the lap of an employer who understood and accepted that he would incur costs in the course of running a business.
Who is Covered Under South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Laws?
Most South Carolina employers and employees are covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act. Applicable employers are legally required to maintain policy limits that are sufficient to compensate any and all employees that might be injured on the job.
What Type of Compensation is Allowed for in the Event of a Work-Related Accident?
Following a work related injury, you may be entitled to the following under the current workers’ compensation laws:
- The cost of necessary medical treatment;
- Lost income sustained over the duration of an employee’s disability; and
- Costs associated with permanent or total disability.
Under What Circumstances Will an Employee be Considered “Permanently” Disabled?
Under the laws of South Carolina, you will be considered permanently disabled if the following true:
- You have suffered a loss of both hands, arms, shoulders, feet, legs, hips, or vision in both eyes, or any two thereof ; or
- You have suffered a loss of use of your back of 50% or more.
Any other disability will most likely be considered to be a partial disability.
Payment for Total and Partial Disabilities
For a total disability, the employer is required to pay the injured employee [during the total disability] a weekly compensation equal to sixty-six and two-thirds percent of his average weekly wages, but not less than seventy-five dollars a week, so long as this amount does not exceed his average weekly salary.
In the case of a partial disability, the employer shall pay to the injured employee [during such disability] a weekly compensation equal to sixty-six and two-thirds percent of the difference between his average weekly wages before the injury and the average weekly wages which he is able to earn thereafter, but not more than the average weekly wage in this State for the preceding fiscal year. In no case shall the period covered by such compensation be greater than three hundred forty weeks from the date of injury.
Length of Benefits
The length of time that a person is entitled to benefits varies according to the part of the body that is injured, based on a schedule set out in the statutes. The maximum length of compensation that an injured worker is entitled to is 500 weeks. Only under very special circumstances such as paralysis can this time period be extended.
Start the Process of Filing Your Greenville Workers’ Compensation Claim with a Consultation
If you were injured on the job and are contemplating filing a worker’s compensation claim, your first step should be hiring a workers’ compensation attorney to make sure that you are fully compensated for any work-related injuries. Call experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at David R. Price, Jr., P.A., today.
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.