When an injury happens on the job, it is covered by workers’ compensation. The employer is obligated to provide workers’ compensation benefits if the injury occurred during the “course and scope” of your employment, whether or not the injury happened at the workplace and regardless of whether the employer was negligent.
Legal representation is critical to getting full compensation under South Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws. Workers’ compensation is a complex area of state administrative law with a lot of moving parts including the employee, the employer, the employer’s insurance carrier, medical providers, and the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Committee (SCWCC). Some workers’ compensation claims can be settled with the insurance company, but other cases will need to be litigated and heard by a single commissioner or a panel of three commissioners in the administrative court of the SCWCC. Many cases will also go to the South Carolina Court of Appeals if the SCWCC does not provide relief.
What Types of Injuries are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Most on-the-job injuries will be covered by workers’ compensation provided that you were acting in the “course and scope” of your employment at the time of the injury. Injuries that are covered may include physical injuries including repetitive stress injuries, occupational diseases that may be specific to your industry and may include exposure to chemicals or other harmful substances, and some types of mental health injuries.
What Type of Benefits am I Entitled To?
Full compensation for on-the-job injuries includes the full cost of your necessary medical expenses. However, the insurance company will often disagree with the amount of medical expenses by arguing whether a treatment was necessary or by arguing that the injury did not occur on the job. This is why it is necessary to have an attorney on your side to ensure that you are fully compensated under the workers’ compensation laws. Other benefits that you are entitled to include lost wages and long-term disability benefits. If you were forced to miss work because of an on-the-job injury, you are entitled to recover two-thirds of your average weekly wages which is capped by a weekly maximum benefit. In cases involving serious injuries or death, you may be entitled to permanent disability benefits for up to 500 weeks.
It is important that you contact a workers’ compensation attorney immediately after your on-the-job injury. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can ensure that:
- You are fully compensated
- You seek appropriate medical treatment.
- You do not make common mistakes on your workers’ compensation application.
- You do not miss critical deadlines such as for reporting the injury or filing an appeal if the insurance company denies the claims.