Employees who are injured on-the-job in South Carolina may be eligible to receive a number of different types of benefits, including medical benefits, wage loss benefits, compensation for long-term disability or disfigurement, and more. Workers’ Compensation does not only compensate injured workers for injuries caused by traumatic accidents, but also for health conditions that are related to their occupation or workplace conditions, such as mesothelioma, carpal tunnel syndrome, and hearing loss.
Workers’ Compensation is a “no fault” insurance system. This means that when an employee is injured, if they elect to pursue benefits through the Workers’ Compensation system, they are not required to prove that their employer was somehow at fault for their injuries. They can be compensated regardless of who was at fault. The only thing that an eligible employee must establish is that their injury was work-related.
If you are injured at work or develop a work-related health condition, you should report it to your employer as soon as possible. Ideally, you should notify them in writing. Employees who fail to report their condition to their employer within a statutorily specified period of time may be ineligible for benefits. Once an injury has been reported, an employee has up to two years to file a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits in South Carolina.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
One of the best features of the Workers’ Compensation system is that injured employees are entitled to immediate payment of health and medical benefits. Your employer or their insurance carrier should pay for all necessary and reasonable expenses related to your work-related injury or illness. This may include:
- Doctors appointments
- Health insurance co-pays
- Physical therapy
- Mileage reimbursement for costs incurred while traveling to and from medical treatment appointments and pharmacies
In South Carolina, if you decide to go to the physician selected by your employer or their insurance carrier, they will be paid directly through that party.
Wage Loss Benefits
Employees who cannot work because they have been injured on-the-job will be eligible for wage loss benefits if unable to return to work for at least seven days. Those who are unable to work due to a temporary total disability lasting 14 days or more may be eligible to receive payment of lost wages back to the date that they were unable to work.
In South Carolina, disabled employees are eligible for two-thirds of their average weekly wages. This number should not to exceed 100 percent of the average weekly wage statewide as determined by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. Those who are able to work in some capacity, but who are earning less due to their injury, are eligible to receive two-thirds of the difference in wages, subject to the state maximum. These benefits continue until a Workers’ Compensation doctor releases the worker from benefits, clearing them to return to ordinary employment.
Permanent Disability and Disfigurement
For serious disfigurement to the face, head, neck, or other body parts that must be exposed for employment, a Workers’ Compensation judge may award up to 50 weeks of payment.
If a worker is fatally injured on-the-job, their spouse, children, or other dependents may be eligible to receive death benefits, depending on the total compensation based on the employee’s average weekly wage, and funds that can help pay for an employee’s funeral expenses of up to $2,500. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if an employee received Workers’ Compensation benefits before their death, or if the death benefits are to be paid to nonresident aliens.
Vocation Rehabilitation Benefits
Injured workers who are unable to return to their normal job are eligible to receive certain services that can help them find new employment in a different line of work.
South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Fight for Injured Workers Across the State
South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation system provides a variety of benefits to injured workers and their families. To learn more about how our Workers’ Compensation lawyers in South Carolina can help, call Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. today at 803-929-3600 or contact us online. We have several offices throughout the state to serve injured workers in in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg, and throughout South Carolina.