Frequentlly Asked Questions on Workers’ Compensation

Most of my clients have never had to hire a lawyer before now. They never wanted to be hurt on the job, they are afraid they will lose their job, and they worry how they will care for their family and pay their bills.

If you have more questions call 803-359-5582

What is worker’s compensation?

Simply put workers’ compensation is the original tort reform from about 1935 and is mandatory for all employers with four or more employees. If an employer has workers’ compensation insurance, the employer cannot be sued. Employers are responsible to the injured worker only to the extent required under the workers’ compensation law. The law puts caps on how much the insurance company for the employer has to pay to the injured worker.

The employer chooses the medical provider. If an injured employee is unable to work, he receives a weekly check at two-thirds of his average weekly wage, subject to caps. South Carolina has a seven day waiting period before 2/3 check is paid to the injured worker. Other states have only a three day waiting period. After fourteen days out of work, the holding week is due.

Far and away the vast majority of injuries in SC never cross the seven day waiting period for 2/3 pay. But in the more serious cases, where the employee has a serious injury, which reduces his ability to support the family, the employee is entitled to workers’ compensation payments.

How do I know if I need a lawyer?

The employer and the worker’s compensation insurance carrier will have a lawyer. The legal rules will apply to you as if you were a lawyer.

How much will a lawyer charge me?

No attorney fee will be charged unless you recover and the Workers’ Compensation Commission must approve any attorney fee and costs.

Why do I have to go a company doctor when I have a family doctor who has taken care of me in the past?

In South Carolina, the employer chooses the doctor, so it is important that you tell the company doctor how you got hurt and where you hurt.

Are my medical records private?

Your employer and the insurance carrier have a right to existing medical records, but that does not mean they get to send someone in to your doctor’s visit to do all the talking.

What if someone other than my employer is at fault?

Industrial accidents are the third leading cause of injury and death in the workplace and recent statistics have shown that mechanical equipment is involved in 80% of the fatalities. Employers have a responsibility to maintain equipment in proper working order to provide a safe working condition for employees and limit injuries. If you have been injured by heavy machinery or equipment while on the job, you may be able to file an additional claim. Remember, timing is important to preserve evidence and your claim.

What happens if the doctor puts me out of work or says I can work in light duty but the job will not let me?

You are entitled to a weekly check, temporary total disability, at 2/3 of your gross weekly pay.

How much will I be paid while I am out of work?

The law requires 2/3 of your pay before taxes (commissions, bonuses, and recent raises should be included) up to a maximum of $645.94 for injuries occurring in 2007.