If you are injured or killed because of a workplace accident or contract a disease or medical condition because of your workplace, you are entitled to benefits under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act (the “Act”). See S.C. Code § 42-1-10 et seq.
Here are a few frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation in Greenville and upstate South Carolina.
What Do I Have to Do to Get Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?
You must apply for workers’ compensation. The first step is to notify your employer that you have been injured. You must act quickly in Greenville and the rest of South Carolina because you only have 90 days to notify your employer after you discover that you have been injured or have contracted a disease or compensable condition. Many times, the injury/accident is obvious. But there are delayed-onset diseases that are also compensable. For those types of conditions, you must notify your employer within 90 days after you “… discovered, or could have discovered by exercising reasonable diligence, that [your] condition is compensable…” S.C. Code § 42-15-20(c).
After you notify your employer, your employer notifies its insurance carrier. Workers’ compensation benefits are paid for by insurance coverage. Almost every employer in South Carolina is required to have workers’ compensation insurance. If an employer fails to have coverage — or goes bankrupt or otherwise does not have coverage — there is a State fund that covers workers and provides benefits.
After the insurance carrier is contacted, there are forms to complete and many times medical records are needed and a medical examination is conducted. For a longer discussion of the steps that are needed to apply for benefits, see our discussion here.
What Types of Injuries Are Covered in a South Carolina Workers Compensation Claim?
In general, all physical workplace injuries are covered if they are caused by the workplace environment and/or occurred at your workplace. Mental injuries are generally not compensable unless they are extreme and severe and result from “an unusual and extraordinary condition of employment.”
What if the Work Accident Was My Fault?
You are still eligible for workers’ compensation even if you were wholly or partially at fault. In general, workers’ compensation is “no fault.”
How Much Workers Compensation Will I Receive?
In general, your benefit payments if you are unable to work will be about two-thirds of your average weekly wage (“AWW”). The minimum payment is $75 per week and the maximum in 2018 is about $838 (it varies by a few dollars each year). As an example, if your AWW was $600, then you would receive $400 per week in benefits. If you are permanently impaired as a result of your injury, you will receive additional benefits upon reaching maximum medical improvement according to a schedule of benefits set out in the statutes for the body part injured.
Will I Be Fired for Applying for Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?
No — or if you DO get fired, you will be able to sue your employer for wrongful termination. As we discussed recently here, it is illegal under South Carolina law for an employer to terminate a worker for either reporting a workplace injury or for making an application for workers’ compensation. See S.C. Code § 41-1-80 which states:
“No employer may discharge or demote any employee because the employee has instituted or caused to be instituted, in good faith, any proceeding under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law…”
Do I Really Need a Lawyer to File for Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?
Yes, you really DO need a Greenville workers’ compensation lawyer. The insurance companies are not your friend. They are in business to make profits. They do this by paying you as little as the law will let them. They train their adjusters to ask the questions they need to “spin” the facts so that your claim is denied or is underpaid. As we explain elsewhere on our website, it is the goal of insurance companies to deny your claims or to settle at a steep discount. An aggressive workers’ compensation lawyer — like the ones at David R. Price, Jr. P.A. — will help maximize the value of your claim.
Call Greenville, SC Workers Compensation David R. Price, Jr. P.A. Today
If you have been hurt at work, call the skilled Greenville SC workers’ compensation lawyers at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. Your consultation is free of charge.