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Workers’ Compensation Deadlines in South Carolina

Workers’ Compensation Deadlines in South Carolina
Axelrod & Associates, P.A.

What are the workers’ compensation deadlines in SC and what happens if you miss one?

One of the pitfalls for individuals filing a workers’ compensation claim is the strict deadlines for filing documents at each stage of the case – missing a deadline can and often does result in the dismissal of your case…

Below, we will discuss the workers’ compensation deadlines at different stages of a case and what happens when you miss one, including:

  • The deadlines for filing your claim and for filing other documents at each stage of your case,
  • When your case could be dismissed for missing a deadline, and
  • When you may be able to get your case reinstated for “good cause.”

What are the Workers’ Compensation Deadlines in SC?

There are deadlines at every stage of your workers’ compensation case, from reporting your injury to your employer to deadlines for filing your appeals and appellate briefs.

For example, there are workers’ compensation deadlines for:

  • Reporting your injury – you will be barred from filing a workers’ compensation claim if you do not report your injury to your employer within 90 days, and your employer then has only ten days to report your claim to their insurance company,
  • Filing your claim – there is a strict deadline of two years to file your workers’ compensation claim and request a formal hearing,
  • If your claim is denied by the workers’ compensation commissioner, you can file an appeal asking a full panel of commissioners to review your claim, but the Form 30 Request for Commission Review must be filed within 14 days of the adverse decision,
  • You can file an appeal of the full commission’s decision to the SC Court of Appeals (and the Court of Appeal’s decision to the SC Supreme Court), but your petition must be filed within 30 days.

These aren’t the only workers’ compensation deadlines, though. There will be strict deadlines at every stage of your case, including requesting a hearing to challenge your impairment rating, your disability rating, or the determination that you have reached maximum medical improvement, filing notices of appeal, requesting transcripts, and submitting briefs or memoranda to the court.

There may be additional deadlines that are imposed by the commission at various stages of a case. For example, in Morris v. BB&T Corp., the SC Supreme Court decided a case where the commission dismissed a petitioner’s appeal because their attorney missed a deadline to file an appellate brief ordered by the commission although he had filed the notice of appeal within the time limit.

What Happens if You Miss a Workers’ Compensation Deadline?

When you miss a deadline, your case will most likely be dismissed and you will lose your right to workers’ compensation benefits.

When you know a deadline is coming up, however, and there is a good reason that the deadline cannot be met, your attorney can request an extension of time and, in some situations, the court will grant you additional time.

If you miss a deadline for an appeal, all may not be lost though. When you miss an appellate deadline but there was “good cause” for the mistake, your case could be reinstated.

Morris v. BB&T Corp. – Good Cause

In Morris v. BB&T Corp., the commission denied a portion of the petitioner’s attorney’s fees and costs. The attorney filed a Form 30 Request for Commission Review within the deadline to appeal, but then the appeal was administratively dismissed when he failed to file his appellate brief by the date set by the commission:

Attorney David Proffitt represented Misty A. Morris in her 2016 workers’ compensation claim against BB&T Corporation. After settling her claim, Proffitt filed a Form 61—”Attorney Fee Petition”—with the commission seeking approval of his contingent attorney’s fee in the amount of $36,633.33, along with costs in the amount of $5,134.10. Commissioner Susan S. Barden approved attorney’s fees in the amount of $24,641.04 and all of the costs, but denied attorney’s fees for the amount the settlement agreement allocated to future medical expenses. Proffitt filed
a Form 30—”Request for Commission Review”—appealing Commissioner Barden’s order to an appellate panel.

A member of the commission’s staff issued a Form 31—”Briefing Schedule and Appellate Hearing”—setting the due date for Proffitt’s brief as January 16, 2018. After Proffitt failed to file his brief by January 16, the “judicial director” of the commission dismissed the appeal by administrative order pursuant to regulation 67-705(H)(3) of the South Carolina Code of Regulations (2012).

The attorney then filed a Motion to Reinstate the appeal, explaining that the failure to file the brief within the deadline was due to a calendaring mistake in his office – they had calendared the wrong date for the deadline. The commission denied his motion without explanation, and then denied a Motion for Rehearing without explanation.

The SC Supreme Court reversed the commission’s decision, finding that denying the Motion to Reinstate without considering whether there was good cause for the missed deadline was arbitrary and an abuse of discretion under S.C. Code Regs. § 67-705(H)(4) (“An appeal administratively dismissed… may be reinstated for a good cause…”).

Although the basis for the Court’s decision was that the commission did not consider or provide any analysis of the good cause standard, the Court also ensured that the commission would reinstate the appeal on remand, noting that, although “[t]he failure to accurately calendar a filing deadline will not constitute good cause for reinstating an appeal in every instance[,] [w]e have reviewed the record in this case… and we find Proffitt demonstrated good cause.”

Got Axelrod?

Your Myrtle Beach worker’s compensation lawyer on the Axelrod team will help you to file your claim, determine how long your workers’ compensation benefits may last, and represent you before the workers’ compensation commission for any hearings and appeals.

Call now at 843-353-3449 or message us online to speak with a SC worker’s compensation lawyer today.

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