Image of a workers' compensation claim form

Workers’ compensation covers lost wages, healthcare benefits, and permanent disability for employees who are injured or who become ill on the job. However, specific types of employment and industries don’t require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Read on to learn about the workers’ compensation requirements in South Carolina to determine if your employer must carry insurance and if you are eligible. You can also work with the Joye Law Firm’s South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers to help you file your workers’ compensation claim.

How Do I Know If I Am Eligible for Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, your employer must typically provide workers’ compensation if your company has four or more employees.

Eligible employees include:

  • Full and part-time workers
  • Family members working for the company
  • Workers who are not American citizens
  • Minors, whether they are working lawfully or illegally
  • Employees working as apprentices or under any appointment under written or oral contract

A sole proprietor or business partner who participates in the company’s operations can choose to receive workers’ compensation upon selecting their status as an employee.

Those who are ineligible for workers’ compensation include:

  • Casual employees with sporadic, irregular work
  • State federal employees
  • Commission-paid real estate agents who work as independent contractors for brokers
  • Owner-operators of tractor-trailers, tractors, and motor carriers
  • Agricultural salespeople with commission-based pay
  • Independent contractors

Types of Businesses and Industries Required to Carry Workers’ Compensation

Most businesses must carry workers’ compensation in South Carolina. However, certain companies and industries are excluded from this requirement:

  • Businesses with four or fewer employees and an annual payroll of less than $3,000
  • Railroad companies
  • Agricultural businesses
  • State and county fair associations

Agricultural employers and state and county fair associations can opt out of the workers’ compensation waiver. They may choose to do this because by offering workers’ compensation, they are protecting themselves from being sued in a personal injury lawsuit.

Common Reasons for Workers’ Compensation Denials Even When You’re Eligible

Your claim may be denied even if you meet eligibility requirements under South Carolina law for workers’ compensation benefits. Denials occur for many reasons, including:

Filing Your Paperwork Wrong

A mistake on your workers’ compensation forms could result in a denial of your claim. For example, on the Employee’s Notice of Claim to the Commission, you must briefly describe your injury and which parts of your body it affected.

If you describe your injury in a way that does not match the parts of your body that you claim were injured, the Commission could question your claim. The Commission could use this error against you if your employer disputes your claim or if there is a question about the extent of your injuries.

Your Injury Didn’t Occur During Work

Your employer may dispute that your injury is related to your work, resulting in the denial of your benefits. Medical records connecting the workplace accident to your injuries are necessary for proving your damages.

For instance, a repetitive trauma injury (one that occurs gradually over repeated instances rather than all at once) incurred from work requires medical evidence, such as expert opinions and medical documents, to connect the injury to your regular work activities. Your workers’ compensation lawyer from Joye Law Firm can help you gather the evidence you need to link your injuries to your work for a successful claim.

You Missed the Deadline to File

When a work injury occurs, you must report the incident to your employer as soon as possible. If you experienced a repetitive trauma injury, you must notify your employer within 90 days of discovering the injury. Failing to report a workplace accident to your employer within the timeframe could result in the Commission denying your claim.

Can I Appeal a Workers’ Compensation Denial with an Attorney?

If you received a workers’ compensation claim denial, speak with a workers’ comp lawyer from the Joye Law Firm. Your attorney can help you make the strongest case possible for your benefits in an appeal and help you understand South Carolina’s workers’ compensation system.

Our attorneys can represent you throughout the appeal process, starting with an informal conference with your employer and the Workers’ Compensation Commission. If we cannot reach an agreement, we can present evidence to support your claim at a formal hearing with a commissioner.

We’ll continue to advocate for your interests through every step of appeal. We can take your case to the S.C. Court of Appeals if necessary.

Get Workers’ Compensation Help from the Joye Law Firm

When you’re eligible for benefits after a workplace accident in South Carolina, you shouldn’t accept a denial of your claim as the final word. At Joye Law Firm, our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers can review your injury claim, help you understand your rights, and assist you in pursuing a claim or an appeal.

Contact us today to book your free, no-obligation consultation.

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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