If you have been injured on the job, chances are you may not know exactly how to proceed, particularly if you have been seriously injured. This blog post aims to provide answers to some initial questions you may have. It is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list. If you have any additional questions whatsoever about how to best proceed after having been injured while at work, it may be in your best interest to contact an attorney to further discuss your situation.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a form of employer insurance providing wage replacement and other medical benefits to employees injured in the scope of their employment.
How is Workers’ Compensation Governed in South Carolina?
S.C. Code of Laws Title 42 – Workers’ Compensation and the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Is My Employer Required to Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
The general rule in South Carolina is that any employer who regularly employs four (4) or more workers full-time or part-time is required to have workers’ compensation insurance, with exceptions for agricultural employees, railroads, and railway express companies and their employees, as well as employers who had a total annual payroll during the previous year of less than $3,000 regardless of the number of workers employed during that period.
Reporting an On-the-Job Injury
If you have been injured on the job, it is best to immediately report the injury to your employer and seek the appropriate medical treatment. If your employer fails to file a claim on your behalf or denies the accident, you may file a claim by submitting a Form 50 or Form 52 to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. Additionally, you may submit this claim if you believe that you have not received full compensation for your injuries.
You must report your injury within ninety (90) days, or you risk losing the benefits associated with the claim. Additionally, you have up to two (2) years to file a claim for benefits.
Employees who have been injured on-the-job are entitled to receive whatever medical treatment is necessary to lessen the disability associated with the injury, including but not limited to, doctors’ visits, hospitalization, surgery and prescriptions.
If an employee is injured and unable to work for more than seven (7) days, the employee is eligible to be compensated at the rate of 66.67% of the employee’s average weekly wage, limited to 100% of the State of South Carolina’s average weekly wage as established each year by the South Carolina Employment Security Commission. S.C. Code Ann. § 42-9-20.
For further details on the compensation provided for specific injuries, see S.C. Code Ann. § 42-9.
Third-Party Workplace Injury Claims
Workers’ compensation benefits are not the only source of recovery for accidents while on the job. In certain situations, you may have a claim against other persons or entities, known as third-parties, for injuries suffered while on the job. These claims arise when, in the scope of your employment, you were injured due to someone else’s negligence. A common example of third-party workplace injury claims occurs when a delivery driver is involved in an auto accident through no fault of his or her own while making a delivery. In this situation, the delivery driver would have a cause of action against the at-fault driver in the auto accident, as well as under workers’ compensation benefits from his employer’s insurance.
As you can see, there are numerous facets to workers’ compensation claims. As is such, it may be helpful to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to fully discuss your legal rights as it pertains to your workers’ compensation and third-party claims.