According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry employers reported over 29,000 workplace injuries and illnesses in South Carolina in one recent year. Fortunately, most workers in South Carolina are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, which is provided by their employer if they get hurt on the job.
If you were injured at work in South Carolina, the workers’ compensation attorneys at The Melonakos Law Firm can help you through the complicated, and sometimes adversarial, claims process. We provide compassionate counsel to injured workers during the difficult period after a workplace accident. We understand how disruptive and devastating an injury at work can be for you and your family. Let The Melonakos Law Firm handle your workers’ comp claim while you focus on your recovery.
Contact us online or call The Melonakos Law Firm today for a free case review.
Workers’ Compensation Rules in South Carolina
The workers’ compensation laws in South Carolina are not exactly light reading. Thankfully, the attorneys at The Melonakos Law Firm are very familiar with these laws. Based on our years of experience, here are a few of the most important SC workman’s comp rules workers to know about:
Which employers are required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage?
Businesses with four or more employees, including part-time workers and family members, are required to maintain workers’ comp in SC. However, the following employers are exempt from this rule:
- Employers with an annual payroll of less than $30,000
- Employers of agricultural workers
- State and county fair associations
- Railroads and railway express companies
- Federal employers
- Owner-operator drivers
- Commission-paid real estate agents who meet specific threshold requirements
Who oversees workers’ compensation claims in South Carolina?
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) oversees workman’s comp in South Carolina. The WCC is comprised of seven commissioners appointed to six-year terms by the South Carolina governor. It is responsible for disseminating all rules and regulations relating to the administration of workers’ compensation laws in South Carolina.
How does the workers’ compensation insurance system work?
If you get injured at work, here is how the workers’ compensation system should work:
- Report your injury to your employer immediately. If your injury requires emergency care, prioritize your health and safety first, then inform your employer as soon as possible. You must report a work-related injury within 90 days of the accident or risk disqualification for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Undergo a medical evaluation by your employer’s recommended medical professional. It is important to be seen by your employer’s chosen doctor or your medical bills might not be paid. At the appointment, tell the doctor about the full extent of your injuries and how the accident occurred.
- Your employer files a claim with the WCC. If your employer does not file a claim, you have the right to file a claim yourself with the WCC.
- Your employer’s insurance company will contact you for more information about the accident and your injury. Do not assume the insurance company is on your side. Rather, their goal is to process your claim for as little money as possible.
- The insurance company will approve, deny, or contest your workers’ compensation claim. If you do not get the compensation you need, you are entitled to a hearing before the WCC. The Commission will hear testimony, review the evidence, and make a legal ruling about your benefits.
- You receive workers’ compensation benefits. If not, you should contact an experienced workers’ comp attorney for help with your appeal.
What is the time limit to file a claim?
There are a few deadlines to keep in mind during the workers’ compensation process:
- 90 days – That’s how many days from the date of the accident you have to report your injury to your employer. If you suffered an injury from repetitive trauma, you must provide notice to your employer within 90 days of when you discovered or could have discovered by using “reasonable diligence,” your condition.
- Two years – That’s how long from the date of the accident you have to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you suffered an injury from repetitive trauma, you must file within two years of when you knew or should have known about your compensable injury. If seven years have transpired since your last exposure to the source of your repetitive trauma, you will be barred from seeking workers’ comp.
What types of benefits are available?
Under South Carolina law, the following workers’ comp benefits may be available to injured workers:
- Medical expense coverage – Worker’s comp will cover the full cost of any necessary medical treatment.
- Partial wage replacement benefits – If you must miss work because of your injuries, workers’ comp can provide income replacement benefits at a rate of two-thirds (66.67%) of your average weekly wage, not to exceed the maximum weekly compensation rate as set by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.
- Permanent disability benefits – After severe injuries that prevent you from ever returning to your job, you may be able to receive long-term disability benefits that replace your income for up to 500 weeks. These cases are extremely complex. A knowledgeable SC workman’s comp lawyer can help with your claim.
How a Workers’ Comp Lawyer in South Carolina Can Help
When you hire a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney in South Carolina, your lawyer could help you with the following:
- Understand the complex workers’ compensation laws and how they impact you
- Meet important deadlines for receiving workers’ comp benefits
- Get a second opinion from another medical professional
- Complete complicated legal paperwork
- Deal with the insurance company
- Advocate for your rights and interests at a hearing before the WCC
- Appeal your claim if you are denied benefits
Contact Our Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Today for Your Free Case Review
If you were injured at work in South Carolina, you do not have to navigate the confusing workers’ compensation claims process alone. Contact us online or call the experienced SC workers’ comp lawyers at The Melonakos Law Firm for help-seeking your benefits today.