oWhat is a workers' comp injury?
In South Carolina, any injury you suffered while on duty may qualify you for Workers' Compensation benefits if it required medical treatment and prevents you from returning to your job (short term, long term, or permanently): Examples include oA fall, eye injury, laceration, burn, lifting something heavy or repetitively doing the same thing over and over oA back injury, shoulder injury, hernia, heart attack, or other injury caused by lifting or some sort of exertion oAn auto accident on duty (your own car or a company vehicle) and some car accidents if in a company car when not technically on duty. oOn the job workplace exposure to hazardous toxins, fumes, gases, or the long term injury from normal tasks (such as carpal tunnel from repetitive use)
oReporting a Workers Comp Injury
Injuries should be reported immediately or as soon as reasonably possibly. Injuries must be reported within ninety (90) days from the date of the accident but generally speaking, reporting sooner as opposed to later is always better.
oCan I sue my employer for causing the injury?
No. Workers' Comp pays for any on-the-job injury, even if it was your own fault, your employer's fault or was "act of God." Because of this you cannot sue your employer, supervisor, or co-worker for negligence. However, if some other party caused your injury then you may be entitled to bring a third party lawsuit (i.e. at fault driver in car accident while you are on the job).
If your claim is admitted by the employer or insurance carrier then you are entitled to all reasonable medical treatment as prescribed by the treating doctor that will tend to lessen your period of disability. Workers' compensation generally pays for surgery, hospitalization, medical supplies, prosthetic devices, and prescriptions. Keep in mind that in order to receive these benefits you must go to the doctor chosen by your employer or its insurance representative. In South Carolina, an employer or insurance carrier is allowed to select the doctor. (Mileage- you are entitled to mileage reimbursement to and from the doctor when the trip is 10 miles round trip or more).
Your weekly check amount is determine by the previous four (4) quarters of pay not included the quarter in which your injury occurred. You would then divide this number by the actually number of weeks to get was is referred to as your average weekly wage. Once you have that number it is multiplied by .6667 to get what is referred to as your compensation rate and is the amount that is paid to you weekly. Keep in mind that all employment is used in this calculation in the event you work more than one job,
When do my weekly checks begin?
Workers Comp law in South Carolina has a seven-day waiting period before benefits can be paid. If you are out of work for more than seven days, payments will come from your employer's insurance representative. If you are out of work for more than 14 days, you will receive workers' compensation payments even for the first seven days. You can expect workers' compensation payments to be made directly to you and these should continue until the doctor releases you to return to work.
When do my weekly checks end?
There are several factors here but generally speaking, the insurance carrier will look to end your weekly benefits once the treating doctor has said you do not need more medical treatment and placed you at what is called maximum medical improvement or MMI. Meaning there is no more medical treatment that will tend to lessen the period of disability. Depending on how many weeks and/or days you have been paid already depends on whether the carrier can just stop benefits or whether they must file for a hearing to stop benefits.
What benefits are available for scarring?
In addition to medical treatment dealing with the injury itself, an employee that has a non-surgical scar that is visible from 8 feet away or more may be entitled to benefits for that scarring. This amount is determine by a Commissioner or deputy Commissioner.
Are lifetime benefits available in South Carolina?
Sometimes. If the injured employee has sustained a brain injury or is a quadriplegic or paraplegic then they may be entitled to lifetime weekly checks. In some circumstances an employee may be entitled to lifetime medical treatment in certain cases as well.
Where can I find additional S.C. Workers Comp information?