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Many issues can arise in a typical workers’ compensation case – disputes concerning the nature and extent of the employee’s injuries, whether the employee is able to return to work following an injury, and the amount of compensation to which the employee is entitled if he or she suffers from a permanent partial disability are all commonplace.

In a recent case that already reached the state supreme court once before (in 2015), the issue was the amount of weekly benefits to which the employee was entitled, based on her income at the time of her injury. Continue reading

hospital roomThe fact is that most civil lawsuits are settled outside court. Of those that are tried, only a small percentage are appealed. Fewer still are appealed past the intermediate court of appeals and on to the state’s highest court. Still, there are a few cases that make it all the way to the South Carolina Supreme Court, only to be remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

When this happens, there are several rules that come into play regarding the effect that the court’s previous resolution of certain issues will have on the next round of litigation.

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When an employee is hurt on the job, and a permanent injury results, he or she is usually assigned an “impairment rating” under the American Medical Association’s Guides to Permanent Physical Impairment.

The workers’ compensation commission – and the court, if the matter proceeds further through an appeal – uses the rating and other factors in determining the amount of permanent partial disability benefits to which an employee is entitled.

The Guides can also be used to establish an employee’s permanent total disability for the purposes of workers’ compensation law.

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please sign here

It seems that everywhere one turns these days, there’s someone asking for a signature on a waiver, a release document, or a contract agreeing – in advance – to arbitration of a dispute that has not yet occurred.

The goal, of course, is to usurp the signer’s right to a trial by jury, thereby limiting or even eliminating liability for personal injuries or wrongful death caused by the negligence of the entity asking for the document.

Fortunately, not every such agreement is upheld by the courts. It all depends upon the particular situation and the language of a given document.

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calculatorUnder South Carolina law, a person who is injured in the course and scope of his or her employment may file a claim seeking workers’ compensation benefits, such as temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, and medical benefits.

If a claim is denied by the employer’s insurance company, the injured worker may request a hearing before a workers’ compensation commissioner. If he or she is dissatisfied with the commissioner’s decision, an appeal may be taken to an appellate panel of the full commission.

Further appeals, including proceedings in the court system, are also possible.

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ship

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Generally speaking, the more a person is exposed to asbestos, the greater his or her risk of developing the disease will be. In most cases, it takes several years (sometimes even decades) after the initial exposure for the disease to manifest itself.

Although there is treatment available for mesothelioma, the majority of patients who are diagnosed with the disease will eventually die from it. Symptoms of mesothelioma typically include pain in the chest wall, shortness of breath, fluid around the lungs, fatigue, wheezing, or blood in the sputum.

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crosswalkUnder South Carolina workers’ compensation law, employees who are injured in the course of their employment are entitled to certain benefits, such as the payment of medical expenses and disability payments.

While workers’ compensation cases are supposed to be less contentious than tort cases alleging negligence, they are not always easy. Just as with defendants in other personal injury cases, employers and insurance companies will look for a way to avoid responsibility, if at all possible.

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spiderThe appellate process is designed to provide efficient and meaningful review of the decisions of lower courts and administrative tribunals. Of course, even when things run smoothly, an appeal can lengthen the time that it takes to resolve a dispute.

When an appeal does not follow the usual course, however, it can take even longer for an injured person, including an employee seeking workers’ compensation benefits, to receive what he or she is owed.

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wheelchair

Placing a loved one in a nursing home, long-term care facility, or assisted living center is an extremely difficult, emotionally fraught decision – perhaps one of the toughest choices many of us will ever be called upon to make.

Often, the primary reason for deciding to place a family member in a care facility is the assumption that he or she will be provided with the constant care and medical attention that would not be possible in a home setting.

Unfortunately, nursing homes do not always live up to this expectation, and patients can suffer serious injuries or even a wrongful death due to neglect, abuse, or mistreatment in a long-term care facility.

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doctor and patient

Timeliness is important in any injury case, be it a negligence action or a work injury case. In addition to the statute of limitations for filing a claim in a court of law, there may be a requirement to give formal notice in some situations.

For instance, giving notice of a work-related injury is critically important to success in a workers’ compensation case. Ideally, this notice should be in writing. As a recent case illustrates, verbal notice alone can result in numerous issues that can jeopardize a claimant’s case.

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