For those workers injured on the job, it’s good to know that a system exists to provide protection when you require time to recover. Rather than worry about the loss of your income or how you’ll pay medical bills, the workers’ compensation system exists to step in and defray these expenses. To find out what kinds of workers are and are not covered by workers’ compensation, keep reading.
Who is covered?
According to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, nearly every worker in South Carolina is presumed to be covered by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act. This measure was written broadly to try and include as many employees as possible, with the understanding that the more employees covered under the act, the more people could be protected and the more costs could be spread out, leading to increased efficiency. Though the goal is coverage for all, the reality is that some groups of employees are left out. Let’s run down the list of who that is.
Though it may seem strange, employees in some specific industries are excluded from the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. Those who work in the agricultural industry, in the railroad business, federal employees, some real estate salespeople and corporate officers are not able to file claims within South Carolina’s existing worker’s comp system. Though this can be a downside for those in unprotected industries, many of these workers have alternate means of seeking compensation for injuries. Existing systems are in place for both railroad workers and federal employees to provide compensation after workplace injuries, meaning these workers won’t be left out entirely.
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act also says that employees of very small businesses are not required to be covered by workers’ comp insurance. The requirements for these small businesses are very stringent and only apply to companies with fewer than four workers and a payroll of less than $3,000. Given the expense of workers’ comp insurance for employers, lawmakers decided such small businesses ought to be granted an exemption.
Another important exception to workers’ comp insurance is for those who are not officially deemed employees, meaning anyone who is found to be an independent contractor. Independent contractors are not technically employees and thus do not fall under the workers’ comp insurance plan of their employers. Although a person may technically be labeled an independent contractor, there are times when this label is inaccurate, often happening when employers purposely misclassify workers to avoid responsibility for certain tax and insurance obligations. If an employer has misclassified an employee as an independent contractor, it’s nice to know that this misclassification can be challenged and workers’ compensation coverage can be granted if the employer is found to be in the wrong.
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.