If you’ve been hurt in a work-related accident or suffered an occupational illness in South Carolina, you might be left with a severe medical condition that requires ongoing treatment while you cannot work. However, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to pay for your related medical care and replace a portion of your lost wages, as well as other potential benefits. Jebaily Law Firm wants to help you pursue these benefits.
We are proud to have fought for injured workers’ rights for over 50 years. You can count on us to be your advocate and seek the benefits owed to you. We are ready to investigate the accident, file the necessary paperwork, submit your claim, and represent you at any hearings and appeals.
Contact us for a free consultation with an experienced SC workers’ comp lawyer today.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a state-run program providing benefits to workers who get sick or hurt while performing job-related tasks – regardless of who was at fault. Most employers in South Carolina with at least four employees must purchase and maintain workers’ compensation insurance. Benefits are available to workers who sustain injuries or develop certain medical conditions from incidents related to their job.
The program pays for medical care necessary to treat the injury or illness. It also covers a portion of lost income for a specific timeframe after an accident.
Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina – Laws and Regulations
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act entitles employees who get hurt in an accident resulting from employment to recover benefits for their medical treatment, lost wages, and disability.
You must report your on-the-job injury to your employer within 90 days of the accident. Employers have the right to choose the doctors who treat you. While you can select a physician yourself, you will likely have to pay out of pocket for those appointments if you don’t get your employer’s prior permission.
If your claim is denied, you can appeal the decision to the Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC). There are four levels of appeals:
- Hearing – You can request a hearing before a Commissioner if your initial workers’ comp claim is denied. The Commissioner will issue an order after the hearing regarding their decision.
- Commission Review – If the Commissioner denies your appeal, you can request a Commission review. You must submit your request within 14 days of the Commissioner’s issued order. Three Commissioners determine whether you are entitled to benefits. You will receive an award notification with their ruling.
- Court of Appeals – If you wish to appeal a Commission Review decision to the Court of Appeals, you have 30 days from the award notification date or when the Commission receives a notice that you received the award by registered mail, whichever is longer.
- Supreme Court – The last appeals level is an appeal before the South Carolina Supreme Court. The highest state court hears only a small fraction of the appeals it receives.
What Benefits Am I Entitled to Receive in SC?
You are entitled to multiple no-fault benefits depending on the circumstances of your injury, including:
- Medical benefits
- Lost wages
- Partial or total, depending on the extent of the disability
- Temporary or permanent, depending on the duration of the disability
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits
- Death benefits
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer pays for reasonable and necessary medical care related to an on-the-job injury, such as:
- Physical therapy
- Medical devices and equipment
- Doctor’s appointments
- Ambulance services
- Mileage to and from medical appointments
Temporary Partial Disability
Temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits are available for workers who can only perform work that pays less than their pre-injury income. Payments are two-thirds of the difference between your pre- and post-accident average weekly wage (AWW), up to a cap. Benefits cannot exceed the maximum AWW in the state for the previous fiscal year.
Temporary Total Disability
If you can’t work at all due to your workplace injury or occupational illness, you can collect temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. Payments are two-thirds of your AWW before the job-related accident. Benefits continue until you return to your job or your doctor finds you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), meaning your injury likely won’t improve with further treatment.
Permanent Partial Disability
You can receive permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits if your injury causes a permanent loss or loss of use of a body part. Payments are two-thirds of your pre-injury AWW, subject to the same state maximum AWW. The duration of benefits depends on the injured body part and the percentage of lost use.
The schedule of period of disability and compensation lists each body part included in the schedule and the corresponding payment amount and duration of benefits for 100% loss of use. For example, losing 100% use of one hand qualifies for two-thirds of pre-accident AWW for up to 185 weeks.
Permanent Total Disability
South Carolina workers’ compensation law automatically considers someone totally and permanently disabled if a workplace injury causes the loss of:
- Vision in both eyes
- Both hands
- Both legs
- Both arms
- Both hips
- Both shoulders
- Both feet
- A combination of two of any parts listed above
The law will also presume you’re permanently and totally disabled if you lose at least 50% use of your back unless your employer or their insurance company can disprove that.
Permanent total disability (PTD) payments are at the same rate as TTD benefits up to the maximum allowed AWW. Typically, total disability benefits are subject to a 500-week limit. However, you can receive payments for the rest of your life if you have a total and permanent disability and quadriplegia, paraplegia, or physical brain injuries.
Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
Vocational rehabilitation services assist injured workers in seeking and maintaining employment. You can receive training to learn new skills for a different job when you reenter the workforce. Services also include help finding employment at your current employer or a new company.
When an employee dies from a job-related injury or occupational illness, surviving dependents are entitled to death benefits for up to 500 weeks. Payments are two-thirds of the worker’s AWW before death up to the state maximum limit. If there is more than one dependent, benefits are divided among them according to their level of dependency.
Up to $12,000 in benefits for burial costs is also available to surviving families.
Common Workplace Accidents and Injuries in South Carolina
Injuries range from minor to life-threatening. Some of the most common injuries in workplace accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Burn injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Overexertion injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
Anyone can get hurt at work, even healthcare professionals. Accidents are part of everyday life, even in the safest working environments. Some of the most common job-related accidents include:
- Slip/trip and falls
- Motor vehicle collisions
- Being struck by unsecured falling objects
- Fires and explosions
- Falls from heights
- Contact with objects or equipment
- Toxic exposure
- Workplace violence
Connect with Our South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
At Jebaily Law Firm, our primary focus is on helping injured workers recover the benefits owed to them after job-related accidents. We will fight for your rights and seek the financial security you deserve.
Contact us now for a free consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer in SC if you’d like help claiming the benefits you deserve.