The workers’ compensation system in South Carolina provides medical care and financial benefits to eligible workers for illnesses or injuries that occurred on the job. An employee who is injured while performing their job or develops an illness that is related to their occupation or workplace conditions is eligible to receive benefits.
The system in South Carolina is what’s called a “no-fault” system, which means that as the employee, you are not required to prove that your employer was at fault before you can receive benefits. You are only required to show that the illness or injury happened and was caused in the workplace or related to your work.
Compensation can be barred in certain cases, however. If you were intoxicated, committed fraud, were horse-playing, intentionally hurt yourself, etc., you may not receive benefits. General negligence will not prevent you from receiving benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Coverage Exclusions
There are some exclusions to the types of employees that are covered under workers’ compensation benefits or are exempt from compulsory coverage requirements. These can include:
- Federal government employees working in South Carolina;
- Employees at a company that has less than four employees;
- Employees of railroad companies or railway express;
- Some commission-paid realtors;
- Agricultural workers;
- Corporate officers; and
- Some temporary or casual workers.
Sole proprietors, LLC members, and partners are not automatically covered by workers’ compensation coverage unless they specifically elect to cover themselves.
If you have a workplace illness or injury, you are required to report it to your employer within 90 days of the accident. Failure to report it within the required time period means you may lose your eligibility for benefits. Learn what your employer’s reporting procedures are, and know that it’s important to report the injury sooner rather than later. If your company doesn’t have set procedures on how to report a workplace injury, then put it in writing and notify your supervisor or the human resources department.
What Workers’ Compensation Covers
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will cover treatment related to your workplace injury or illness. It will pay for any authorized hospital bills, doctors’ appointments, physical therapy treatment, etc. You can also ask for reimbursement for mileage costs of traveling to your appointments and the salary you lost while going to your medical appointments as long as the round trip exceeds ten miles.
If your injury is severe, you may be eligible for disability benefits as well. Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) is available when an injury prevents you from handling all your previous job duties, but you can still complete some work. Temporary Total Disability (TTD) is available when your injury is severe enough that you are prevented from working for a certain period of time.
In the event your injury is permanent, there are Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) and Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits available as well.
Retaining a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If your benefits were denied or you don’t agree with the decision, you have the right to appeal. If you have questions or need assistance with your claim, it’s important to speak with a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney. Contact the Elrod Pope Law Firm at 803-599-3080. We have several conveniently located offices and can assist you with all your workers’ compensation needs in Chester and Rock Hill.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.