Killed On the Job? Death Benefits Under South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Law

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Have you been hurt on the job in Greenville, SC? If so, you cannot be prevented from seeking workers’ compensation benefits under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. This is even more true if a member of your family — a loved one — has been killed on the job. If you are a surviving dependent — like a spouse or a child — you are entitled to seek recovery through the workers’ compensation system.

Here is a quick guide on death benefits under the workers’ compensation system in South Carolina.

Workers’ Compensation In Greenville, SC: Death Benefits in South Carolina

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Don’t let the loss of a loved one keep you from your deserved compensation.

Like all benefits under the workers’ compensation statute, death benefits are calculated based on the deceased worker’s average weekly wage. Death benefits are paid weekly for 500 — just shy of 10 years — following the fatal accident or death resulting from a work-related illness. In general, the weekly payments are two-thirds (66.66 percent) of the average weekly wages. The death benefit also provides for burial expenses not to exceed $2,500.
Many have been critical of the South Carolina death benefits system. While 500 weeks may sound generous, for younger workers and their families, it is the opposite. South Carolina codified statutes provides a life expectancy table for use in litigation when necessary. See S. Car. Code, § 19-1-150. According to the table, a male worker killed on the job when he was aged 35 would have a life expectancy of another 43.05 years. And, yet, his dependents are only paid death benefits for fewer than 10 years. In all other types of litigation — including medical malpractice and personal injury — the family of the deceased is able to claim FULLY all future lost wages and earnings. Calls for change have been made.

Workers’ Compensation In Greenville, SC: Dependents Are Entitled to Receive Death Benefits

In any event, in general, the dependents of the worker who has been killed on the job are the persons entitled to receive death benefits. See S. Car. Code § 42-9-290. The statute uses the phrase “wholly dependent.” Under workers’ compensation act, a person is presumed to be “wholly dependent” if they are the deceased worker’s:

  • Spouse;
  • Minor child;
  • Mentally or physically incapacitated adult child; or
  • Child younger than 23 years-old attending an accredited educational institution full-time.

Note that these are the persons who are presumed under the statute to be “wholly dependent.” The question of “wholly dependent” is a factual question and, consequently, even if you do not fit these definitions, you can still apply for benefits as long as you have some evidence or proof that you are “wholly dependent.”

Workers’ Compensation In Greenville, SC: Killed On The Job Statistics

In 2016 — the latest statistics available — 96 workers were killed on the job in South Carolina. See here for report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Of those fatalities, more than a third (36) involved transportation incidents, 14 involved violence by other persons or animals, two involved fires and/or explosions, 15 were fatal slips and falls, 13 deaths were caused by exposure to harmful substances or environments and 15 deaths were caused by contact with objects and/or equipment. The most deadly industries were/are construction and transportation.

Workers’ Compensation In Greenville, SC: Call David R. Price, Jr., P.A. Today

If a loved one has been killed on the job or has succumbed to work-related fatal illness, call the Greenville SC workers’ compensation attorneys at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. Our attorneys know South Carolina workers’ compensation law and are skilled and proven.

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