Workers' compensation law is complex and can be confusing for someone who has been injured on the job and isn't sure what their next steps should be. Below, we have compiled some of the most common SC workers' compensation FAQ for you.
Whether you are getting ready to submit a claim or your claim has already been denied by the insurance company, you need to know what the law says about your employer's responsibility to cover on-the-job injuries because your employer and their insurance company will deny or limit your workers' compensation claim any way they can.
Your Myrtle Beach workers' compensation attorney on the Axelrod team is ready to answer your questions, help you to file your claim, represent you before the SC workers' compensation commission, and file any necessary appeals to ensure that you receive the full coverage you are entitled to under SC law.
SC Workers' Compensation FAQ - Am I Covered?
What does workers' compensation cover?
Workers' compensation covers most injuries on the job if the injury happened "during the course and scope of your employment," when you are partially or totally disabled, or when you had to pay medical expenses related to the injury.
What doesn't workers' compensation cover?
Workers' compensation does not cover any injury that did not happen during the course and scope of your employment. For example, workers' compensation will probably cover a forklift accident in the warehouse or a repetitive injury like carpal tunnel syndrome caused by daily use of a keyboard.
It would probably not cover a broken arm caused by a wrestling match with a coworker in the break room - whether you work in the factory or an office building, wrestling with coworkers is probably not part of your job description...
What should I do if I'm injured on the job?
First, report the injury to your employer - if you don't report the injury within the 90-day deadline you may lose any right to workers' compensation benefits.
You will need to see a doctor chosen by your employer (or by their insurance company) and follow up on any recommendations made by the doctor.
Although you are not required to have an attorney help you with your workers' compensation claim, it's a good idea. Get professional help filing your claim, gathering your medical records, and presenting your claim to the workers' compensation commission when necessary.
Is my employer required to carry workers' compensation insurance?
Maybe - if your workplace has four or more employees, they are most likely required to have workers' compensation insurance.
Does workers' compensation cover injuries that were not caused by an accident?
An "accident," or a sudden event like a fall that causes injury, is not required for workers' compensation coverage. Occupational illnesses, including repetitive injuries or injuries sustained by breathing in chemicals over time, are also covered by workers' compensation.
What if the accident was not my fault?
SC has no-fault workers' compensation laws - it does not matter who was responsible for the injury.
Can I get workers' compensation benefits if I am an independent contractor?
If you are an independent contractor, you are probably not covered by the employer's workers' compensation policy. Be aware, however, that general contractors may be required to carry workers' compensation insurance for subcontractors and their employees.
Also, you may not be an independent contractor even if your employer says that you are - contact a workers' compensation attorney if you believe you have a workers' comp claim and there is a question as to whether you are an independent contractor.
Can I get workers' compensation benefits if I only work part-time?
If your workplace has four or more employees, whether full-time or part-time, they are required to carry workers' compensation insurance for all employees.
SC Workers' Compensation FAQ - What Benefits am I Entitled To?
Who pays workers' compensation benefits in SC?
Your employer's workers' compensation insurance company is required to pay your workers' compensation benefits, and the payments do not come out of your employer's pocket.
What benefits does workers' compensation pay in SC?
Depending on the nature and extent of your injuries, workers' compensation can pay partial or total disability, usually at 66 and 2/3 the amount of your ordinary wages. Workers' compensation also covers your medical expenses including hospital care, emergency care, physical rehab, medications, and any medical equipment you may need.
How long do workers' compensation benefits last?
How long your benefits will last depends on the type of injury suffered and when your doctors say that you are ready to go back to work. The maximum length of time could be as much as 500 weeks or even lifetime benefits for some types of injuries.
Does workers' compensation pay death benefits in SC?
SC workers' compensation pays death benefits to any person who was wholly dependent on the deceased employee for their support.
Can I get compensation for pain and suffering?
You cannot get compensation for pain and suffering through workers' compensation, although, in some cases, you may also be able to file a personal injury action against a third party who was responsible for the accident.
Can I get punitive damages?
You can't get punitive damages through workers' compensation either. Worker's compensation laws are intended to provide basic medical coverage regardless of who was at fault - they are not intended to punish the employer.
Can I also file a personal injury lawsuit after I was injured at work?
In most cases, you cannot sue your employer. You may be able to file suit against third parties like manufacturers, distributors, or third-party contractors on the job site if their negligence caused your injuries.
Your Myrtle Beach workers' compensation attorney on the Axelrod team will help you to determine whether you are entitled to workers' compensation coverage, help you to make your claim, and represent you before the workers' compensation commission.