Top 5 Myths About Workers Compensation in South Carolina
Workers compensation is an exclusive remedy system, meaning that it’s the only way a covered employee can get compensated by an employer for injuries or illness sustained on the job. It’s also a no-fault system, meaning that employees are entitled to benefits no matter who caused the accident.
The system may appear to be straightforward, but it is not. There are many myths about workers compensation in South Carolina. Let’s clear them up.
Myth #1: All workers are covered by workers compensation.
Not all employers must have workers compensation insurance in South Carolina, though most do. With some exceptions, all employers with four or more employees must. Plus, workers’ compensation does not cover independent contractors (1099s), only regular (W-2) employees.
If you’re injured on the job and your employer does not carry workers compensation insurance, you do have options, including a lawsuit against your employer or recovering from the Uninsured Employers’ Fund, which is run by the state. In this situation, you should definitely speak to an attorney.
Myth #2: I have two years to report my injury.
No. In South Carolina, you do have two years to file a claim for benefits, but you only have 90 days to report your injury to your employer, or you risk losing benefits. Your employer then has 10 days to report the accident to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Your employer should file a claim with the Commission on your behalf. If you believe they failed to file, or if you believe you didn’t get all your benefits, you can file the claim yourself.
Myth #3: I can see my regular doctor to treat work-related injuries or illnesses and it will be covered by workers comp.
No. Your employer or its insurance company has the right to choose your doctor. Do not go to your own doctor for treatment expecting it to be covered.
Myth #4: If I get workers compensation benefits, I cannot also file a lawsuit.
This is part myth and part truth.
No, you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer for the injury or illness for which you’re being covered by workers’ compensation, except in special circumstances.
However, you are free to file a lawsuit against a third party if they contributed to your injury or illness. For example, you may sue a manufacturer if you were injured by a defective piece of machinery they made. Or you may sue a property owner if you injure yourself in a slip-and-fall accident while you’re making a sales call outside the office.
With third-party lawsuits, you may be entitled to receive additional benefits that aren’t covered under workers’ comp, including damages for pain and suffering and punitive damages.
Myth #5: I can collect either social security disability insurance (SSDI) or workers compensation, but not both.
Not true. While there are limits on the total amount of benefits you can receive, there’s nothing that bars you from collecting benefits from both programs if you qualify.
Speak with a Greenville Workers Compensation Attorney About Your Case
Johnnie D. Fulton and Andrew C. Barr of Fulton & Barr in Greenville, SC handle workers compensation cases and know the system well. They can advise you on your case whether you have just recently been injured and are starting the process, or have had a claim denied and want to re-file.
Contact Fulton & Barr today at (864) 235-3154 or contact us online. Initial consultations are always free.