South Carolina Appellate Court Affirms Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Denial of Alleged Work-Related Asthma Claim

Under South Carolina workers’ compensation law, a person who is hurt while performing his or her duties at job may file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. While less generous than the personal injury damages potentially available to a person who is hurt by another’s negligence (in a car accident, for instance), these benefits can be very beneficial to the worker.

Some of the benefits that may be available in a successful workers’ compensation claim include temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial or permanent total disability benefits, and or paid medical treatment by an authorized physician.

Facts of the Case

In an (unreported) case recently considered by the South Carolina Court of Appeals, the plaintiff was a man who alleged that he was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits due to an injury he had suffered while working for the defendant employer. The Appellate Panel of the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission found in favor of the employer and denied the employee’s request for benefits. The employee appealed, seeking review from the intermediate appellate court.

The Court’s Decision on Appeal

On appeal, the plaintiff maintained that the Commission had made a mistake in denying his claim for workers’ compensation benefits from the employer, arguing that the Commission had afforded no weight to his doctor’s opinions and had erred in failing to find that his asthma (which he alleged was work-related) arose out of the course and scope of his employment.

In affirming the Commission’s denial of the employee’s claim, the appellate court noted that the Commission was not bound by the opinions of any particular medical expert and was free to disregard some such evidence in favor of other, competent evidence in the record. As to the plaintiff’s argument about whether his asthma was, in fact, work-related, the appellate court observed that S.C. Code Ann. § 42-11-10(A) defines a compensable occupational disease as “a disease arising out of and in the course of employment that is due to hazards in excess of those ordinarily incident to employment and is peculiar to the occupation in which the employee is engaged.” Finding no error in the Commission’s decision regarding whether the employee’s asthma resulted from his work with the employer, the appellate court affirmed the lower tribunal’s denial of the employee’s workers’ compensation claim.

Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Serving Spartanburg and Greenville

South Carolina workers’ compensation laws are in place for the protection of those who are injured on the job. Unfortunately, many work injury claims are denied, and, even if a claim is not disputed, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier for the injured person’s employer may not treat him or her fairly. To talk to a knowledgeable South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer about your legal rights, call the Patrick E. Knie Law Offices for an appointment. You can reach us for a free consultation by dialing 864-582-5118.

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