All employees that have been injured in on-the-job accidents in South Carolina are entitled to apply for a job-related benefit called workers’ compensation; it is called that because employers have a responsibility to keep their employees safe and free from harm or accident. However, accidents do happen on occasion, and employers are also responsible for compensating the injured employee(s). Accidents and injuries can happen in any kind of workplace, to employees who work in laboratories, mines, gas stations, farms, and even cubicles and offices.
Workplaces with Higher Rates of Accident and Injury
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 4,500 full-time workers were killed on the job in 2014; on average, that’s about 90 deaths per week or 13 per day. That’s an overall perspective; if you delve a little deeper, you will find that some jobs and careers are statistically more dangerous. In South Carolina, the most dangerous jobs include those that involve the excavation and withdrawal of raw materials (such as minerals, ore, and oil), driving (such as couriers, taxis, and delivery drivers), factory work, and of course construction.
The jobs with the lowest rates of accident and injury, on the other hand, tend to be more scientific, financial, informational, and similar types of businesses. Even with a statistically lower injury rate, employees in those fields still face the risk of injury in doing such mindless everyday functions as walking up or down stairs and in hallways, traversing potentially slippery areas such as bathrooms and break rooms, and of course almost anyone who uses computers is at an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, not to mention back, neck, and shoulder problems.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?
In South Carolina, the law states that you are legally eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation if you get hurt on the job in any way and your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance. Even if you caused the injury, you can still file a claim, and you are not legally responsible to prove who was at fault.
South Carolina Worker’s Compensation: Who Does It Cover?
The short answer to the important question of whether you will likely be covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance is simple: Almost everyone. With just a few exceptions here and there, almost all employers are legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance; exceptions include employers who have three or fewer employees or fields such as agriculture or railroads. Unless you are employed by one of those rare exempted employers (not as an independent contractor), chances are that you will be covered if you are ever injured in a workplace accident.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Provide?
Depending on your injuries, workers’ compensation may pay for a wide variety of things that you will need, including but not limited to the following:
- Doctors’ visits – This can include your primary care doctor as well as specialists
- Medical devices such as crutches, a wheelchair, or other supportive aids
- Any injury-related medications prescribed by a doctor
- Medical procedures and/or surgeries
- Lost wages equal to two-thirds of your average weekly income that you were earning before the accident and the related injury that rendered you incapable of working as you normally would
You May Have Further Questions
If you or a loved has suffered injuries caused by a workplace accident, you may very likely have further questions; after all, each situation and story is unique. If you have questions that aren’t answered here, please contact the Elrod Pope law firm at (803) 599-3080 in order to schedule your free consultation with an experienced, knowledgeable attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation cases like yours.
What if my injury caused a significant change in my lifestyle? What if I’m unable ever to return to work? What if my family member was killed in a workplace injury? All of these are valid concerns, and if you are worried about how this accident may have impacted your future, you should call us today to schedule an appointment; you can tell the attorney your story, and he or she will be able to provide you accurate information about potential paths your case may follow as well as your rights and the options you have at this most critical juncture in your life. You are not required to hire us (or any other firm) as your attorney, but you do have that option. At this point when the thing you need to focus on is regaining your health, please consider allowing us to manage your complex legal dealings – it’s what we do best, and it’s one huge thing you won’t need to worry about.
A Few More Things You Should Know About Workers’ Compensation
- If you have been injured due to an accident at work, you should file a claim as soon as possible. If you’re unable to do so immediately, it is important that you do so within 90 days, or you may not be eligible to receive any kind of compensation, which means that you will have to pay for your medical bills and anything else that workers’ compensation would have covered for you.
- After you report the accident and your injuries, your employer is responsible for (a) following up regarding your medical care and (b) contacting the workers’ compensation insurance company, who will, in turn, report your claim to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
- There is a difference between on-the-job injuries and workplace illnesses; it is possible to experience both, but each circumstance has its own set of details. If you have questions about the difference, or if you are considering your option to hire an attorney to represent you in court, please give us a call at (803) 599-3080 so that we can schedule a free initial consultation for you with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.