Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

Under South Carolina workers’ compensation law, employers are supposed to purchase and maintain a policy of workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees, in case an accident or illness should happen on the job.

Of course, just as people break other rules in life, not every employer complies with the requirements placed on them under the law. Fortunately, a person who is hurt at work while on the job with an uninsured employer does have a potential remedy – the uninsured employers’ fund. (The employer does not get off scot-free, of course, but working out the details of how the employer ultimately reimburses the fund is a matter that typically does not require the injured employee’s involvement.)

Facts of the Case

Notice can be an important issue in a case involving injuries or wrongful death. While sometimes the simple act of filing a claim within the statute of limitations is all that is required, there are some kinds of cases in which other, earlier action is required.

South Carolina workers’ compensation cases, for example, require the giving of notice of an injury or accident to one’s employer within a certain time period. (Cases in which negligence is alleged against the government or a governmental employee may also have a formal notice requirement.) While it might seem like the issue of whether appropriate and timely notice was given in a particular case would be easy to resolve, this is not always so.

The Facts of the Case

Spartanburg and Greenville workers’ compensation cases are sometimes met with much resistance from the employers of those who are injured, as well as from their insurance companies.

This is unfortunate because, very often, workers’ compensation is the injured worker’s only means of obtaining much-needed medical care and temporary disability benefits. Although it is wise to consult an attorney any time you are dealing with an insurance company, this is especially true in disputed workers’ compensation cases. Quality legal representation can make all of the difference.

Facts of the Case

Those who have been hurt at work have certain legal rights, including the right to seek certain benefits like medical care and temporary disability payments from their employer (or the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier).

Although the compensation available in a South Carolina workers’ compensation case is typically less than what the worker could have recovered in a traditional negligence claim, the trade-off is that the worker does not have to prove fault on the part of the employer. However, the worker does have to prove that he or she suffered a compensable injury in the course and scope of his or her employment. If the employer denies the claim, it may take months or even years for the case to be resolved.

Facts of the Case

A difference of just 2% might not sound like much, but it can make a huge difference in deciding how much an injured worker will receive under South Carolina’s scheduled-member workers’ compensation statute.

This is because a worker who has suffered 50% of more loss of use of his or her back due to an on-the-job injury is presumed to be totally disabled, while a worker with only 48% loss of use of his or her back is presumed to be only partially disabled.

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When an employee is hurt at work, he or she is usually limited to benefits available under the workers’ compensation laws. Such benefits typically include past and future medical care, temporary disability, or permanent disability payments. Under the “exclusive remedy doctrine,” the employee cannot file a traditional negligence lawsuit against his or her employer.

However, when a worker is hurt due to a third party’s negligent conduct, he or she has the option of proceeding in tort against the responsible party. (The employee may be required to repay amounts received from workers’ compensation if the third-party claim is successful.)  Such cases can be complex, especially if the employer also contributed to the cause of the accident. A recent case is illustrative.

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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

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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Under 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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Under 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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