What Compensation from Workers’ Comp Should I Expect?
Workers’ compensation is a program designed to compensate employees injured on the job, regardless of fault. If you’re seeking workers compensation from Workers’ Comp in South Carolina, you may wonder what kind of compensation you can expect to receive as a result of your injury or illness.
What Does Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina Cover?
According to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law, “You are entitled to all necessary medical treatment that is likely to lessen your disability. Workers’ compensation generally pays for surgery, hospitalization, medical supplies, prosthetic devices, and prescriptions.” The employer and their insurance carrier have the authority to direct treatment with their selected physicians. The choice of doctor may be challenged in situations where care was initially denied, or emergency treatment had to be obtained.
After a seven-day waiting period, you can begin collecting benefits to make up for missing work. During the first 150 days after you provide notice to your employer of your work accident, the benefits may be stopped if the employer and their insurance carrier determine that you did not sustain a work accident, refused medical treatment, or refused to return to work within restrictions provided by the authorized treating physician. You can request a hearing to oppose the denial of benefits by the employer/insurance carrier. After 150 days post-notice, weekly benefits cannot legally be stopped without a return to work or a hearing before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. Compensation is paid at a rate of 66⅔% of your average weekly wage for the four quarters before the injury, not to exceed the state maximum. Partial weekly compensation is also allowed if your pay is consistently reduced as a result of your work accident.
Compensation for Permanent Injuries and Disfigurement
South Carolina law also provided for compensation for total and/or partial disability, and disfigurement. If permanent disability is total as a result of brain damage, paraplegia or quadriplegia the injured worker is entitled to lifetime benefits. All other claims for total disability are capped at 500 weeks maximum recovery.
Compensation for Death of a Loved One
If an injury on the job resulted in death, eligible survivors (dependents or, if no dependents, parents) may collect compensation at the same rate (66⅔% of the employee’s average weekly wage) for 500 weeks as well as burial expenses. However, this is the maximum available, and survivors may be entitled to less, based on how much they relied on the employee’s earnings before death.
Important: benefits are only available if you report the accident within 90 days and file for workers’ compensation within two years. In cases of death, survivors have two years from the date of death to file a claim.
Note that this is a brief overview only. The law is extremely complex, which is why it’s important to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney about your particular situation.
What Does Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina NOT Cover?
Pain and Suffering
Compensation paid through the workers’ compensation program is paid either according to a set schedule (e.g., loss of wages at 66⅔%) or for actual expenses incurred (e.g., medical bills). Pain and suffering is impossible to quantify and cannot be compensated on a set schedule, and is not part of South Carolina’s workers’ comp program.
Punitive damages are intended to punish the party at fault for negligence. Because the workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system, with compensation paid regardless of who caused the injury or illness, there’s no room for punitive damages.
In most cases, workers’ compensation is the only way for an ill or injured employee to receive compensation; by taking part in the workers’ compensation program, they give up their right to sue. However, in some cases, there can be grounds for bringing a lawsuit against the employer in civil court. Talk to a lawyer if you think your situation merits a civil suit.
Contact Greenville Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Johnnie Fulton & Andrew Barr
Johnnie Fulton and Andrew Barr are experienced Greenville attorneys who help injured employees and their families navigate the complicated law of workers’ comp. They can provide guidance and legal support at every stage, from understanding your rights to filing the initial claim, to appealing, if necessary. If you’ve suffered an injury or illness in the workplace, contact Fulton & Barr today at 1-800-868-2110 or can chat live with us now through Start Chat button on the left-hand side or bottom of this page.