If you are covered by workers’ compensation in South Carolina, you are eligible for benefits regardless of whether the injury occurred because of a mistake on your part. That is because South Carolina uses a no-fault system for workers’ compensation.

Regardless of whether you caused your injury due to negligence or your injury happened for some other reason while you were at work, you are typically entitled to paid medical costs, unemployment benefits and compensation for your pain.

Most South Carolina workers are covered by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act in case of an on-the-job accident or occupational disease.

Expected Compensation

You can expect to receive compensation for an injury, or your family may obtain benefits if a family member is killed in a job-related accident. The South Carolina workers’ compensation system covers necessary medical treatments, loss of wages over a certain period of time while you are disabled and permanent disability or disfigurement.

If you are hurt and cannot work for more than seven days, you could be compensated at 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly salary. Keep in mind that the amount is capped at 100 percent of the state’s average weekly earnings, which is calculated on an annual basis by the South Carolina Employment Security Commission.

If your disability goes beyond 14 days, you could be eligible for financial assistance starting at the date of your accident.

For total disability or death, South Carolina limits compensation to 500 weeks. Total and permanent disability is defined as the loss of both hands, arms, feet or legs or vision in both eyes or two of these losses combined. A workers’ compensation commissioner also has the discretion to make other disability conclusions specific to a certain physical loss or impairment.

To calculate the amount of compensation, the state will determine your average weekly income. This cannot exceed 100 percent of the state’s average weekly wage.

Concerning partial disability or disfigurement, South Carolina establishes compensation based on statute or Workers’ Compensation Commission regulation. Generally, awards are determined according to the total number of weeks of compensation an employee is entitled to because of an injury’s severity.

South Carolina defines an occupational disease as an accidental injury that causes the disability or death of an employee. To qualify, an occupational disease must result from a hazard specific to a certain trade, process, career or employment that happens under normal working conditions. Damaging radiation in the workplace could lead to compensation through South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act, as well.

Report Your Injury

If you are hurt on the job, it is essential to report your injury as soon as possible. Whether you’ve been injured because of your own mistake or an error on someone else’s part, you should let your employer know of the circumstances immediately. No more than 90 days should pass from the date of your accident until you tell your employer. Otherwise, you may jeopardize the payment of medical costs and other types of compensation.

Claims for workers’ compensation have to be made within two years of the incident.

Once you have informed your supervisor, the employer or the company’s representative has 10 days to notify the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. It’s the commission’s job to oversee the payment of your medical treatment and the compensation supplied by your employer or the employer’s insurance carrier.

Know the System

Although workers’ compensation is supposed to help injured workers, the system can be complicated. Going through the process of filing a claim for workers’ compensation may seem overwhelming, especially if you are also struggling with a life-changing injury.

But it is important to take the time to understand the workers’ compensation process. Be sure to stay informed about how the state calculates your benefits so that you receive the full amount you have earned. It is also a good idea to consult with an attorney who is familiar with South Carolina workers’ compensation laws.

About the Author

Ken Harrell joined Joye Law Firm in 1994, and has been the managing partner since 2006. With 30 years of experience, he protects the rights of injured South Carolinians, including cases involving workers’ compensation, car accidents, and defective products. Ken also leads the firm’s referral practice, helping to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation. He is a past president of South Carolina Injured Workers’ Advocates, and has served as the co-chairman of this organization’s legislative affairs committee for 12 years.

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