Entitlements Explained: A Worker’s Compensation Claim in South Carolina
Making a compensation claim for a work-related injury can seem a daunting prospect. In South Carolina, the no-fault, worker’s compensation system aims to smooth this process for those in need of assistance.
Whether an injury is small or large, any financial impact it has on an employee can form the basis for a compensation claim. Although there’s no option to file a lawsuit against your employer, there are three main areas of financial aid which you have quick access to.
Loss of Earnings
The most basic level of a compensation claim is to replace lost earnings suffered as a direct result of a work-related injury. This is normally paid in a weekly installment and so accounts for both past and future loses as the payments cease once a full recovery has been made.
It’s important to note the payments themselves amount to two-thirds of the employee’s net wage, not the full amount the employee would’ve received in working regular shifts. While experienced South Carolina lawyers who specialize in this field of law can help some areas of your claim, this earnings amount is capped by State law and can not be exceeded.
A compensation claim also provides for recovering the costs incurred from medical expenses. These medical costs must be specifically for treatment on the received injury and must hasten the recovery and a return to work for the employee.
Although these guidelines appear to be implicitly clear, caution is strongly advised when seeking medical assistance. Other than in the case of an emergency, all medical treatment needs to be agreed by the insurance company before proceeding. This can be particularly troublesome and a good line of communication is essential to moving the whole process forward.
While many injuries can be quickly healed, serious problems take time and this can complicate things further. Dealing with an increasing amount of paperwork and multiple deadlines can be a challenge in itself, while frustration is often experienced in dealings with Insurance representatives.
An injured employee who has been classified by a doctor as unfit for work will continue to receive the weekly compensation at a rate of two-thirds their usual wage. This will continue up until either the employee is once again able to return to work or they reach a point in which their body has healed as fully as it can and will.
Known as the point of maximum medical improvement, it may be the case that an employee will not regain full health and fitness following a workplace accident. It may take many months or even years from the date of the initial accident, however, a lasting disability can be recognized as the result of a serious accident. In such a situation, a doctor will issue an impairment rating after assessing the severity of any lasting symptoms.
When this occurs, the employee is then fully entitled to a final compensation payment. This can be for anything from a disfigurement to death, although, any payment awarded does not take emotional or physical pain into account when the amount is calculated, only the basic facts of the case.