Some South Carolina workers’ compensation cases involve the issue of whether a particular injury was work-related or whether the employer has a valid defense against the employee’s claim. Sometimes, however, the real fight is not between the employer and employee, but between other parties. For instance, this can happen when a worker dies as a result of an on-the-job accident, and multiple parties seek death benefits.
Facts of the Case
The plaintiff in a recently decided appellate case was the brother and personal representative of the estate of a man who died when his boat capsized in a pond during a work-related accident in 2013. The plaintiff filed a Form 52 notice of a claim for death benefits a few months after the accident that took the worker’s life. A hearing was held, during which the plaintiff sought workers’ compensation benefits on behalf of the deceased worker’s mother, as next of kin under South Carolina Code § 42-9-140(B). Another claimant sought benefits for herself as the deceased worker’s alleged common law wife or, alternatively, as a dependent.