Unlike the majority of States in America, South Carolina operates a no-fault system of awarding compensation to injured employees. This serves to improve and ease the way in which workers collect compensation in the event of an accident. It can also be seen as a bureaucratic-heavy process with non-negotiable rules that must be adhered to.
Working for the Workers
All compensation claims in South Carolina are handled by workers’ compensation commissioners. Unlike a lawsuit, these cases do not pass in front a judge and are not impacted by judgments of liability or negligence. With worker insurance a mandatory requirement for all businesses with four or more employees, it’s this insurance which will pay the employee’s in the event of an injury.
Accordingly, for any injury incurred by a worker on-site, there’s a set process which must be followed. An accident and any injury caused on site must be reported to a supervisor within 90 days. While medical assistance should be sought at the earliest possible time, it should also be made clearly known to the doctor that the injury is work-related.
Your employer then has a maximum of two years to file a First Report of Injury or Illness form to the State accident fund. If the injury was not caused by misconduct on the victim’s behalf, they can then file for a workers’ compensation package to subsidize any loss of earnings or beneficial medical costs incurred from the accident.
Making a claim
Knowing exactly what you’re entitled to claim is the single most important factor when pursuing a compensation claim. The no-fault system is designed to re-compensate two-thirds of any lost wages. This includes lost earnings already incurred because of an inability to perform your job and any future earnings you expect to lose. The compensation also covers medical bills which directly relate to tending to the recovery of the injury.
What the compensation does not include is any type of award for pain and suffering caused as a result of the accident. Because the case does not go before a judge, there’s also no punitive damages awarded against any negligent party. However, this also includes any negligence on behalf of the person injured who are still entitled to claim financial aid despite potentially being solely responsible for the accident.
While the compensation process has been simplified in many ways, there are still potential problems you can face in making a claim. a specialized worker’s compensation law firm could help you navigate the traps and pitfalls which lie ahead. These range from correctly filing your claim to dealing with the insurance company themselves. Experienced attorneys can also ensure you receive the full amount to which you’re entitled, both directly and indirectly.
Any accident which involves a third party could open the way for you to take civil action in addition to the regular workers’ compensation claim. If the accident was caused by an outside factor such as independent contractors or faulty equipment, a separate lawsuit can be filed against either the individual, business, institution or manufacturer who is ultimately responsible for the root cause of the accident.