Workers’ compensation laws are a product of the 20th century. According to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, prior to the passage of these statutes, workplace injuries were addressed through individual lawsuits. If there was an employee hurt on the job, that person had to file a negligence lawsuit against his or her employer in order to collect compensation. This type of litigation would require proof that an employer behaved negligently, and that this negligence caused the worker’s injury.
While workers could recover damages through these lawsuits, the process was generally slow and costly. In addition, there were no guarantees that workers would receive compensation in the end.
Workers’ compensation laws were passed in an attempt to improve these situations. Under these statutes, workers enjoy guaranteed benefits. These payments address lost income and medical expenses, as well as income benefits to the dependents of deceased workers.