If you’ve been injured on the job in South Carolina, you have likely heard about the workers’ compensation system, but you may not know many details about how it works. Important buzzwords like “no-fault” may lack meaning to those who thankfully have had little experience with workplace injury claims. To find out more about how the workers’ comp insurance system operates with regard to fault, keep reading.
What does no-fault mean?
A no-fault insurance system, such as workers’ comp, works by paying claims regardless of who is to blame for an accident. This means that the insurance pays workers’ comp benefits no matter who is found to be at fault for the accident that resulted in the workers’ injuries. This provides an important layer of protection for workers who don’t need to go through the additional burden of proving their case before receiving benefits.
Fault vs. no-fault
What’s the difference between a no-fault insurance system and a fault-based one? A good example of this is the way that some states handle auto accident insurance claims. Twelve states operate on a no-fault system, which means that it does not matter who is to blame for an accident. Either way, the injured person’s own insurance pays out to cover things like medical expenses and lost wages.
In fault-based states, finding out who is to blame is crucial to receiving compensation. Parties involved in an accident must prove the fault of an opposing party before any payments will be made. The benefit to no-fault systems is that claims can be processed much more quickly given that there’s no burden of proof or lengthy dispute over who bares blame. This helps victims receive money sooner and with much less hassle.
How does no-fault work in the workers’ comp context?
With the “no-fault” workers’ comp system, benefits are paid out to injured employees regardless of fault. This means that there does not need to be the lengthy and expensive fight over who is to blame for the accident that led to the worker’s injuries. Workers’ compensation benefits can still be claimed, regardless of whether the accident was caused by faulty equipment, incorrect instructions by a supervisor, the negligence of a third-party or the carelessness of the employee himself.
A good illustration of how the no-fault system works in terms of workers’ comp is if an employee is injured after making a mistake on his or her own. Let’s say that Bob, who is working as a janitor, gets hurt at work after carelessly leaving cleaning solution on the floor. He slips and falls while walking to go clean a nearby room. The accident was clearly the result of Bob’s carelessness, but thanks to the no-fault workers’ comp system in place in South Carolina, the fact that he’s responsible will not preclude him from receiving benefits.
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.