Under South Carolina Workers’ compensation law, injured employees may qualify for certain benefits. Eligibility is based on the employee working for a covered employer and the injuries must arise out of the course of the employment:
Medical Care and Treatment – Injured workers may receive medical care and treatment until such time as they reach what the law calls maximum medical treatment. As part of this treatment the worker is eligible for mileage to and from the doctor’s office. The employer’s insurance company generally has priority to pick the doctor, and any disagreement can be submitted to the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Temporary Total Disability Payments – Injured workers who are unable to work are eligible for weekly payments equal to 2/3rd of their average weekly wage (called “comp rate”) until such time as they reach maximum medical improvement.
Compensation for Permanent Impairment – After the injure worker reaches maximum medical improvement they are eligible for payment for any permanent impairment. The amount of the payment is determined by taking into account the comp rate, percentage of impairment and the specific body part(s) involved.
There are also additional benefits available for those who are permanently and totally disabled, or for employees who died as a result of the injury.
In order to be eligible for these benefits it is necessary that the employee notify their supervisor as soon as possible after their injury. The employer should then notify their carrier of the claim and advise the employee on how to initiate medical treatment. This is usually through a local emergency room or urgent care center. In the event that the employer does not have insurance, or the insurance company will not authorize medical treatment it will be necessary to file a claim directly with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Claims are resolved through administrative hearings or informal conferences, and not through a court room trial. Employees with questions about their rights or eligibility to receive benefits should always consult with a qualified Workers’ Compensation attorney.