The workers’ compensation system in the state of South Carolina appears simple on paper — you’re injured at work, and you get paid at a given rate for the time period you’re unable to work at full capacity. But what if it takes a long time to recover? Is there a maximum amount of time before your workers’ compensation simply runs out?
In this article, we want to answer the question about how long you can stay on workers’ compensation in South Carolina.
In addition, we need to explore how the system works piece by piece to provide the best information possible about how one can use the system as it is designed to be used.
How Long Can You Remain on Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?
A major worry that is shared by virtually anyone who is looking at needing to go onto workers’ compensation in South Carolina is exactly how long this kind of system will continue to help them cover their expenses.
The system currently allows those who are injured on the job to receive the benefits that they require for up to 500 weeks, or until they are able to return to work. There are some exceptions when a worker can get benefits for even longer than that.
There are some people who have faced injuries so significant and life-altering that they are allowed to receive workers’ compensation for the remainder of their life. Injuries that cannot be healed (such as becoming paralyzed) would fall into a category that allows the worker to claim benefits for the remainder of their natural life.
It is critical to note that not everyone who is injured at work will automatically receive 500 weeks of benefits and not have to worry about coming back to work at all for that period of time. That is simply not how this works.
Instead, they will get the amount of benefits that they need for a length of time that is necessary until they are recovered and able to return to work once again.
Retroactive Workers’ Comp Benefits
Those who claim their benefits may be able to get at least some of their benefits retroactively. They just need to prove that their injury caused them to miss out on at least two weeks of work. If that is the case, then they may receive benefits that date back to when they were originally injured. That can be a big deal for people who need some funds.
The most important thing for all South Carolina residents to keep in mind is the fact that they need to react quickly to make sure they lock in their benefits as soon as they can. There are certain procedures and steps that must be taken to make this happen, but it is possible as long as they act within certain parameters of time. Talented lawyers can help them reach those goals.
South Carolina and the “No-Fault” System
South Carolina is designed as a “no-fault” state when it comes to workers’ compensation benefits. What this means is that there is absolutely no burden at all on employees to show that their employer did anything that directly led to the employee being injured. They only need to show that they were injured while on the job. Those who do so are entitled to receive workers’ compensation in South Carolina.
What to Do After Becoming Injured at Work
Reacting the right way after a workplace injury is certainly not easy to do. You are likely in pain, uncomfortable, and want to be anywhere but where you are at the moment. That said, you need to take certain steps to ensure your safety and your ability to get the help that you need from the workers’ compensation system. Here is what to do:
1. Report Any and All Injuries Immediately
No matter how seemingly small an injury may feel to you, you need to report it to your manager or supervisor right away. It is best if you can do so in writing so you have a record of having reported the injury to the proper authorities on the issue.
2. Make Sure Your Employer Follows Up
After you have reported your injury to your employer, they have a total of ten (10) days to report it to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. The injured employee needs to follow up with their employer to ensure that they are upholding their part of the deal. The only way that help will arrive is if the accident is accurately reported, and that only happens if all of the necessary laws are adhered to every time.
3. Contact an Attorney
There are reasons to contact an attorney if you fear that you will not receive the benefits that are due to you. If you wait longer than 90 days after your injury to report it (something you should never do), then you sacrifice your rights to benefits at all.
However, you have up to two years to actually file for the benefits as long as you have reported the injury properly. Thus, you may want to get in touch with an attorney simply to make sure that you have done everything properly on your end to keep your end of the bargain up and receive your benefits.
Employees Who Are NOT Eligible for Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina
It is important to note that some types of employees aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation in the state of South Carolina due to state, federal, and local laws. A few types of employees who do not qualify include:
- Railroad workers
- Employees working for companies with fewer than 4 employees
- Agricultural workers
- Many temporary employees (temps)
- Federal employees working in South Carolina
- Corporate officers
- Some realtors
These workers are simply ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits and will be denied those benefits if they attempt to apply for them.
Is it Possible to File Your Own Workers’ Compensation Claim?
A question that comes up all the time from employees who are concerned that their employer may NOT do the right and legal thing and file their workers’ compensation claim for them is if it is possible to file it on their own.
The good news on this is that it is possible to file your own workers’ compensation claim. You will simply need to go through the Commission yourself and file what is known as Form 50. This is a special form that an individual may use to make a direct plea to the Workers’ Compensation Commission to receive their benefits.
It shouldn’t be a necessity to do something like this, but you don’t want to take a chance either. Know your options to keep yourself protected no matter what.
Contact David Aylor Law Offices for Answers About Your Workers’ Compensation Case
David Aylor and his team of skilled attorneys can help you take the best course of action when seeking compensation for a work-related injury. We serve Myrtle Beach, Charleston and more regions across South Carolina. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.