Dismissal of Workers’ Compensation Case Affirmed by South Carolina Court of Appeals

In a South Carolina workers’ compensation case, an injured employer has certain obligations that must be complied with before he or she can receive benefits from his or her employer or its insurance company. Among these requirements are a timely reporting of the injury and the filing of certain paperwork with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (if the employer believes that he or she is entitled to other benefits in addition to those already paid by the employer or insurer).

If the employee is displeased with the determination of the commission in his or her case, he or she has a right to file an appeal. However, the burden of proof is on the employee to convince the reviewing tribunal that the commission’s decision was in error.

Facts of the Case

In an unpublished case recently considered on appeal, the plaintiff was a man who sought review of a decision of the Richland County Circuit Court with regard to his claim for workers’ compensation benefits he alleged were due him under South Carolina law. The trial court dismissed his suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and also held that the plaintiff had failed to state facts sufficient to constitute a viable cause of action against the defendant commission.

According to the plaintiff’s arguments in the court of appeals, the trial court had made several mistakes, including dismissing his case without due consideration of pertinent medical documentation,  not recognizing that South Carolina Code § 15-77-50 gave the circuit court jurisdiction over the commission, dismissing the plaintiff’s case when the commission violated its own policy of requiring employers to provide a Form 14B, and in not affording the plaintiff an opportunity for alternative dispute resolution (which the plaintiff averred was required in all civil cases in South Carolina.)

Decision of the Court

The State of South Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court’s decision pursuant to South Carolina Appeals Court Rule 220(b) and other relevant authority. The court first agreed with the trial court that dismissal of the plaintiff’s suit was proper under both South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). With regard to the plaintiff’s other complaints on appeal, the court went on to find that the plaintiff had failed to preserve those issues on appeal and thus affirmed the lower court’s decision in all respects.

Speak to an Experienced South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you have been hurt at work, it is very important that you speak to an attorney who can help you understand your legal right as you go forward with a claim against your employer. At the Patrick E. Knie Law Offices, you can schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a knowledgeable South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney at your convenience. Just call us at 864-582-5118, and we will be happy to set up an appointment for you in our Spartanburg or Greenville offices. Please remember that you have a limited amount of time to take legal action against your employer, and a failure to act promptly may result in your claim being dismissed on procedural grounds.

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