In most cases, if you get hurt on the job, you are entitled to workers' compensation. This is a state-run program, and as an employee in South Carolina, it's important to understand the laws in this state. Here's what you need to know.
1. Most Employees Are Covered by Workers' Compensation
In most cases, as an employee in South Carolina, you are covered by workers' compensation. However, there are some exceptions. Namely, if you work for an employer with less than four employees, you may not be covered.
You may also not be covered if you are a temporary employee, a farmworker or a Realtor. Additionally, special programs cover employees of the railroads and the federal government.
In most cases, independent contractors and freelancers are not covered by workers' compensation, but there are exceptions to that rule. For example, if you are working on a construction site, then the principal or contractor may have to cover you with their workers' compensation policy.
2. Your Employer Cannot Fire You for Making a Claim
If you get hurt on the job and you are covered by workers' compensation, your employer cannot fire you for making a claim. That is illegal, and if it happens, you need to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
However, if you are physically capable of doing light work, your employer may offer you a new post. In those cases, if you turn down that offer, you risk losing your workers' compensation benefits.
3. Workers' Compensation Includes Payment for Medical Bills and Wage Replacement
When you qualify for workers' compensation, all of your medical bills related to the work-place injury are covered.
Most importantly for many people, workers' compensation includes a wage replacement component. You get to claim 66 2/3 percent of your weekly income. That is based on your average income over the last four quarters.
However, you cannot get more than 100 percent of the state's average weekly income. As of 2017, that amount is $806.92 for residents of South Carolina.
4. You Have to File Within 90 Days
After you're injured, you have a limited amount of time to make a claim. Normally, if you don't make your workers' compensation claim within 90 days, your claim may be denied. However, in some cases, you may be able to access a larger window of time.
This is especially true in cases where you have a condition that did not show up until long after you left the job. Contact an attorney to find out more about the optimal time line for making a claim.
5. You Can File Your Own Claim
In some cases, you simply tell your employer that you are injured, and they take care of the paperwork for you. However, if your employer is reluctant to make the claim or if they disagree with your injury, you may need to do the process on your own. You can submit Form 50 or Form 52 to the state workers' compensation board.
If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal. At that point, you can request an informal hearing. If the results of that hearing are not satisfactory, you can request a formal hearing. For better results, you may want to hire an attorney to help you with the process.
At William D Fore, PA, we handle personal injury cases as well as workers' compensation claims. If you have been injured at work or in another environment due to someone's negligence, contact our experienced legal staff today. We can help you fight to get the compensation and justice you deserve.