The U.S. Department of Labor has reported that over three million workplace accidents, injuries, and illnesses take place every year in the United States. Once upon a time, there was no system in place to compensate workers when they were injured on the job, even for their medical bills. The workers’ compensation system was put in place to compensate employees who suffer harm and still provide for their families.
What is Workers Compensation?
In South Carolina, the laws regarding workers’ compensation are included in the Workers’ Compensation Act. This Act puts together a list of rules that are meant to protect workers in Simpsonville, South Carolina who have suffered an injury as a result of their employment. If you work in Simpsonville and are injured on the job, you are legally entitled to recover medical expenses, temporarily lost wages, and/or disability benefits.
Which Employers Have to Offer Workers’ Compensation?
In South Carolina, the law states that any employer who employs four or more employees, full-time or part-time, must have workers’ compensation insurance in place.
As with any rule, there are exceptions. People who work in agriculture, for railroad companies, and for any business that had a payroll of less than $3,000 in the previous year are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Simpsonville, SC
Benefits such as medical expenses, temporarily lost wages, mileage, and disability are available under workers’ compensation. In addition, if you suffer a permanent disability, loss of limbs, and/or disfigurement due to a work-related injury, you may be entitled to long-term payments. If a worker is killed in a work-related accident, the worker’s family can receive the benefits.
In addition to free medical care, workers who are injured in a work-related accident in South Carolina are able to receive disability benefits a portion or all of their compensation rate for up to 500 weeks. There is a schedule set out in the statutes that is quite detailed about how many weeks of benefits a worker is entitled to for injuries to certain body parts. Only a few extremely serious cases allow for a lifetime of benefits to an injured worker. These could include cases where a worker was paralyzed or suffered a catastrophic brain injury.
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act says that an injured worker’s weekly workers’ compensation rate will be equal to 66 and two-thirds (66.667%) percent of the amount of his average weekly wage. However, the amount an injured worker receives cannot exceed the average weekly wage in South Carolina for that year. According to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, the weekly maximum workers’ compensation rate is $838.21 in 2018.
Common Workplace Injuries in Simpsonville, SC
In Simpsonville, and throughout South Carolina, some of the most common injuries suffered in the workplace include:
4.Knee, back and shoulder injuries
5.Spinal cord injuries
6.Traumatic brain injuries
10.Psychological damage such as severe anxiety and/or depression
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Death
If a worker is killed due to a work-related in Simpsonville, South Carolina, then the worker’s family member can pursue a claim for death benefits.
In such cases, the dependents of the deceased employee will be able to receive weekly payments of up to 66 2/3 of the employee’s average weekly wage (subject to the minimum and maximum compensation rates) for no less than 500 weeks. In addition, a burial allowance is provided to the family members of the deceased.
What to do After a Simpsonville, South Carolina Workplace Accident
If you are injured on the job, there are certain steps you should take after the accident. They include:
1.Report the injury to your supervisor as soon as possible: Timing is vitally important. If you do not report the injury to your supervisor within 90 days, you may be denied your valid workers’ compensation claim and benefits. A delay in reporting the injury can also create a lag time before you are able to see a doctor for your injuries. This means that your symptoms may go untreated, and it gives your employer an opportunity to deny that your injury occurred in the workplace and dispute your claim.
Although the law in South Carolina only gives you up to 90 days to report your workplace injury, the 90 days can be extended if you have suffered a debilitating injury and are unable to communicate with your employer.
In some cases, the 90-day clock doesn’t go into effect until the date you discovered or could have discovered the injury. This means that if you were diagnosed with something latent, like carpel tunnel syndrome, you may have 90 days from the date of the diagnosis, not just from the date where the injury to your wrist first happened.
Once you’ve reported the injury to your supervisor your employer should send you to see a doctor to get treatment for your injuries. South Carolina law dictates that your employer has the right to select the doctor you see. It’s important to follow the instructions given to you by your employer and doctor.
2.Hire a Simpsonville, South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney: It’s your attorney’s job to investigate your case, evaluate your injuries, and calculate the potential value of your workers’ compensation case. In addition, your Simpsonville, South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney will also advise you as to the next steps that should be taken in your individual case.
Filing A South Carolina Workers Compensation Claim
In many cases, your employer will report your injury to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. However, sometimes the employer might deny the claim, so it’s up to you and your Simpsonville, South Carolina attorney to bring the claim.
In order to file your claim, your attorney must file a specific form called a “Form 50” with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. If you fail to file your claim within two (2) years of the date of injury, then your claim may be denied, even if it was otherwise valid and the injury was reported to your employer within 90 days.
Can Your Employer Punish You for Filing a Simpsonville, SC Workers’ Comp Claim?
The short answer is no. The law states that employers aren’t able to fire or punish employees for filing a South Carolina workers’ compensation claim. In addition, the law clearly states that your employer is not allowed to fire or punish any co-workers who may be called in to testify about your case.
Why You Need a Simpsonville, SC Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Filing a workers’ compensation case through the bureaucracy of the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission can be highly complex and confusing. An experienced and skilled Simpsonville workers’ compensation attorney can take that burden off your shoulders, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Accidents can and do happen at work, and under South Carolina law your employer is responsible for injuries its workers suffer at the workplace. If you have been injured on the job, contact David R. Price, Jr. P.A. to learn about filing a workers’ compensation claim so you and your family get the benefits you legally deserve.