Workers’ compensation insurance is required for almost all employers in Greenville, South Carolina, who have four or more employees working for them. There are very few exceptions to this rule, and there’s a decent chance that they don’t apply to your position. While certain industries and businesses qualify for such an exception, there are also exceptions that are based on how your employer classifies you, as an employee, an independent contractor, or even a volunteer.
If your employer has told you that you do not qualify for workers’ compensation, there is a chance that your employer might be classifying you incorrectly, whether it is intentional or accidental. Today, we’ll look at whether or not your job is subject to the laws of workers’ compensation insurance, whether or not you are an employee, whether or not your injury is truly work related, whether or not your claim is valid, and finally, what to do if a valid claim is denied by your employer or their insurance.
Is Your Workplace Subject to South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Requirements?
For the vast majority of workers in Greenville, South Carolina, the answer to this question is “Yes, your workplace is subject to South Carolina workers’ compensation laws and requirements.” As long as there are four or more employees, part time or full time, you should be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. The exceptions to this rule are important though, because they just might apply to your workplace. These exceptions are:
- You are a railroad or railway express worker.
- You are an agricultural worker.
- You are a Textile Hall Corporation worker.
- You are a commission paid realtor.
- Your employer’s payroll is less than $3K.
Now, if any of these exceptions apply, you may not be covered by workers’ compensation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not covered. Rather, it means that your employer does not legally have to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer still chose to do so, then your injury might be covered, despite the fact that your employer was not legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance because of the exceptions.
Are You an Employee or Are You Something Else?
You may or may not be aware that there is more than one classification for workers in Greenville, South Carolina. You can work for someone without being an employee. The other possible classifications that may apply to you include independent contractors and volunteers. An independent contractor is someone who works for themselves, but provides services for a client. You could work for someone, as an independent electrician, for example, without being the employee of the company you’re doing the work for. However, if you are an electrician who works for a subcontractor who is completing work for another entity, then you may be a statutory employee, and you may be covered by workers’ compensation from the subcontractor or the employer, depending on the situation. A volunteer, on the other hand, is someone who contributes their time to working on something, without receiving any payment. Volunteers are not considered to be employees and are not covered by workers’ compensation.
Was Your Injury Caused in the Course of Your Employment Responsibilities?
In order for your injury to be covered by your employers’ workers’ compensation insurance in Greenville, South Carolina, you must be able to prove that your injury occurred in the course of work related activities. You cannot receive compensation for something that happened on your lunch break, something that was caused by you doing something you shouldn’t have been doing because it was outside the scope of your employment, or something that happened while you were off the clock for any reason.
This may seem pretty clear-cut, but the reality can be more complex. For instance, what if you are a traveling salesperson? You may not have a time clock to clock in with, but you might be traveling to another town to sell your wares. If you are an employee of another company, and if you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, then any auto accidents or other incidents that cause injury during this time should be covered . . . unless you were also visiting family in the given town and happened to be on your way to see them when the incident occurred. How do you prove which case is true? Were you on the way to a potential customer’s home or a business to sell something, or were you on your way to your mom’s house?
This can also get confusing if your employer needs you to run an errand, such as to drop off a bank deposit, and you stop at the store to grab a soda on the way there or on the way back. If you get into an auto accident at this time, it could matter whether you were on your way to or from the bank (or other errand destination) or if you were on your way to or from your own personal errand. If there is any dispute, you should contact David R. Price, Jr. P.A. to discuss your options with an experienced Greenville, South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney.
How Do You Determine Whether or Not Your Claim is Valid?
Before you file for workers’ compensation benefits in Greenville, South Carolina, you should consider the validity of the claim. It’s important to avoid any situation where you might be accused of a fraudulent claim, and it is also important to know when your claim is valid, so that if is denied you will respond appropriately. This means you have to consider whether or not the injury was truly work related, and your classification as an employee.
When considering the validity of your claim, remember that negligence usually doesn’t come into play in a workers’ compensation claim, because it’s a no-fault system. The only time fault matters is when there is gross negligence on the part of yourself, another employee, another individual who is not an employee, or your employer. If you are drunk on the job, then this is your own gross negligence, and you won’t have a valid claim. In another employee attacks you, then may have a personal injury claim for assault and battery as well as a workers’ compensation claim, just as you would if someone outside of your employment causes harm, but does so while you are working. If your employer was grossly negligent, then may have one of the rare cases where you might have a personal injury claim against them, rather than just a workers’ compensation claim (in some cases, you may have both or a third party injury claim).
Is the Validity of Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Being Disputed?
If you believe that your claim is valid, but it is denied, then you can call an experienced workers’ compensation claim attorney in South Carolina at David R. Price, Jr. P.A. to discuss what you can do to appeal the decision. We are happy to provide a free consultation and get you started in the right direction to get the benefits you need.
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.