Injuries of Teachers in South Carolina

South Carolina teachers have the important responsibility of providing students with the knowledge and critical thinking skills to succeed in the classroom and in the future. The ranks of teachers include preschool teachers, kindergarten teachers, elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, secondary school teachers, special education teachers and instructors and professors at community colleges, universities and technical schools.

Teacher writing on a board
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While teaching is not generally considered a hazardous job, teachers are at risk of suffering injuries while at work and are entitled to benefits when that happens. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 40,000 teachers sustain some type of injury each year. Elementary and secondary school teachers are at the highest risk. Injuries that teachers suffer can severely impair their ability to function in the classroom.

If you are a teacher in South Carolina and are having difficulty obtaining workers’ compensation benefits after a classroom injury or work-related injury, contact our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at Joye Law Firm. Under South Carolina law, a teacher who is injured on the job and out of work is entitled to medical care and partial reimbursement of lost wages. South Carolina workers’ compensation eligibility rules are complex. Our South Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys can help you gather evidence to prove that your injury was work-related and covered by the workers’ compensation system.

Call 877-941-1019 today to schedule a free and confidential evaluation of your claim.

Workers Compensation Benefits Available to S.C. Teachers

At Joye Law Firm, we understand that a workplace injury can cause great physical, emotional, and financial difficulty to teachers. Our attorneys are committed to helping teachers with their workers’ compensation claims.

South Carolina workers’ compensation provides benefits to cover:

  • Medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Partial disability
  • Total disability
  • Disfigurement, physical impairment, and loss of limbs
  • Reimbursement for mileage costs to see doctor or pick up prescription drugs
  • Death benefits

When calculating your average weekly wage for the purposes of disability payments, it is important for the workers’ comp administrator to use the correct formula to compute the benefits. Most teachers in South Carolina are hired to work 38 weeks rather than 52 weeks. Therefore, a teacher’s average weekly wages should be determined by taking the annual salary and dividing it by 38 rather than 52. That can make a big difference in the number of weekly benefits you receive while out of work.

When Joye Law Firm handles your workers’ comp claim, you can rest assured that you are working with attorneys with a detailed knowledge of South Carolina workers’ compensation law. Our dedicated attorneys will be committed to your case every step of the way.

We will do everything we can to see that you get you the benefits you deserve as you recover from your injuries.

Common Types of Injuries in S.C. Teacher Workers’ Comp Claims

The common types of accidents and injuries that teachers in South Carolina may suffer while at work include:

Musculoskeletal injuries. Musculoskeletal disorders are common among teachers. Teachers spend many hours on their feet each day. Prolonged periods of standing, and bending, as well as lifting heavy loads and objects, can contribute to muscle and ligaments tears and soft tissue injuries.

Head injuries. Teachers can suffer head injuries such as concussions and more severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) from falls and trying to break up fighting students.

Repetitive stress injuries. Repetitive stress injuries are caused by repetitive movements, such as standing for long periods, writing on a chalkboard, and typing. Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and other repetitive stress injuries can be so severe that they require a teacher to take time off work. These are among the most common types of injuries listed by teachers filing workers’ compensation claims.

Injuries related to teaching subjects. The classes being taught could pose injury risks. For instance, a science teacher could be exposed to harmful chemicals, open flames or explosive chemicals. Gym teachers are often susceptible to injuries involving physical exertion. Locker rooms and gyms often have slick floors that can lead to slips and falls.

Types of Injury Risks Faced by South Carolina Teachers

Slip and fall accidents. Spilled drinks and food in the cafeteria, splashed water in bathrooms, wet or icy school entrances, and crowded stairs are among the causes of slip and fall accidents. A teacher may lose his or her balance while standing on a chair or stool to decorate a classroom. Slips and falls can result in sprains, fractures, back injuries, and brain injuries.

Toxic exposure. Teachers can be exposed to toxic substances at their school. Harmful substances include fumes, moisture damage, excessive dust, and mold. Old schools may contain asbestos tiles. The teaching profession is among those in which workers are at risk of developing mesothelioma, a type of cancer caused by breathing or ingesting asbestos dust. The health effects of toxic exposure can be immediate and long-lasting.

Toxic exposure can cause the following symptoms:

  • Severe headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Nosebleeds
  • Skin rashes
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of mental focus
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Ear, nose, and throat irritations
  • Muscle spasms
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Cancer or another catastrophic illness

Classroom violence. Roughly 7 percent of teachers in the U.S. receive threats in the classroom each year, according to the American Psychological Association. Female teachers reportedly receive over twice as many threats as male teachers. Nearly 6 percent of students admitted carrying a gun, knife, or club at school in the last 30 days, according to a survey form the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Stress and psychological issues. In addition to having demanding workloads, teachers have to deal with difficult students and pressures to perform. These stressors can lead teachers to suffer from depression, anxiety, and other psychological issues. Teachers may even need to take time off work while they seek psychological treatment.

Disease transmission. Because teachers spend a lot of time in close quarters with students who go to school sick, they are at a risk of developing viral and bacterial infections.

How to Avoid an Injury

The following are ways to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring at school:

Keep exits clear. Make sure all classroom exits remain clear from clutter and obstructions.

Use ladders safely. Always use a ladder when putting up decorations or grabbing books or other materials on high shelves. Don’t stand on chairs, desks, or stools. Choose the right sized ladder for the task.

Organize your desk. Organize your work station so the most frequently used items can be reached easily. Set up your chair so that your feet are flat on the ground. The front of your seat should not be pressing into the back of your knees. There should be armrest support and the desk should be positioned so that you can grade papers or type while keeping your elbows at a right angle. Computers should be placed just below eye level and an arm’s length away.

Be careful when lifting heavy items. When setting up your classroom, rearranging objects, or moving furniture or heavy items, use safe lifting techniques. Ask for help when moving heavy items when necessary.

Hang decorations correctly. Avoid hanging things from sprinkler heads and light fixtures. Be sure not to block exit signs or obstruct any exits with your decorations.

Store hazardous materials properly. Hazardous materials, such as chemicals and cleaning supplies, should be out of reach of students, properly labeled, and securely stored.

Get rid of tripping hazards. Put away items when not in use to prevent tripping. Don’t leave unattended drawers or cabinets open. Chairs need to be pushed in when students are moving around the classroom.

Pull up a chair. Leaning over a desk can contribute to lower back problems. Pulling up a chair next to students when helping them can reduce back pain.

Don’t carry too much. While it can be tempting when moving items to try to take as few trips as possible, it greatly increases the risk of a slip and fall. It’s more difficult to see hazards in front of you when the load you are carrying is blocking your view. Take multiple trips or ask someone to help you with large or awkward loads.

Be careful with electrical cords. Make sure electrical cords are not running through walkways, doorways, and other areas where you and students walk around. Don’t fasten cords with staples, or suspend them with a wire. Don’t cover cords with mats or rugs.

Contact a South Carolina Teachers Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you are teacher in South Carolina who has been injured on the job, we understand that you may have a difficult recovery ahead. You may be out of work for a lengthy period of time. Without workers’ compensation benefits, you and your family will likely face financial difficulty. If you’ve been injured and need help with your South Carolina workers’ compensation claim, you need our attorneys on your side. Joye Law Firm has offices in Charleston, Columbia, Clinton and Myrtle Beach and handles cases throughout the Palmetto State.

If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, don’t give up. Our South Carolina workers’ comp lawyers at Joye Law Firm can help you seek the full benefits provided by state law. If you have a disputed claim or your claim has been denied, call Joye Law Firm today 877-936-9707 to schedule a free initial consultation. We will review your claim and discuss how we can help you.

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