Injured workers in South Carolina are supposed to be protected under the law through the requirement that employers carry workers’ compensation insurance. To be sure, employers who regularly employ four or more workers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, although there are certain employers who are exempted from this requirement. Employers who are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance may not elect to self-insure, and therefore operate in violation of the law when they choose to do so. Injured workers working for uninsured employers can still receive compensation for their work-related injuries through the South Carolina Uninsured Employers’ Fund, which is part of the State Accident Fund.
Getting Access to the Uninsured Employers’ Fund
If a worker working for an uninsured employer gets injured, the Uninsured Employers’ Fund can either pay the worker’s claim or deny it, depending on the facts of the claim. Before the Uninsured Employers’ Fund makes any payments, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission has to make a determination if the claim is one that can be made from the fund. This is done at a hearing before the commission. If there is a defense to paying the worker’s claim, such as the fact that the worker does not really qualify as an employee, the Workers’ Compensation Commission may determine that the Uninsured Employers’ Fund cannot pay the claim. Additionally, as with an insurance carrier representing an employer, the Uninsured Employers’ Fund can also deny any or all aspects of a worker’s claim. Therefore, the worker may choose to be represented by an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to increase their chance of a successful claim. If a worker’s claim is initially denied, the worker may appeal the decision.
If the employee is compensated and awarded benefits, the Uninsured Employers’ Fund then goes after the employer for the amount that was paid to the employee, including any expenses and costs that were incurred by the Uninsured Employers’ Fund in the course of defending or paying the claim benefits. In order to ensure the Uninsured Employers’ Fund receives money from the uninsured employer, the Fund is allowed to place a lien on the employer’s assets; should the employer file bankruptcy, the lien placed supersedes most other claimants.
Is a Settlement Possible?
While a settlement in a workers’ compensation claim from an insured employer may be common, it is not always so in the case of a claim from the Uninsured Employers’ Fund unless the uninsured employer cooperates and agrees to a settlement. Claims made to the Uninsured Employers’ Fund may sometimes take longer than claims against an insured employer; however, having the protection of the Uninsured Employers’ Fund is better than no protection at all.
Contact a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you were injured on the job and need to make a workers’ compensation claim against an insured or uninsured employer, you need to you should consult with an experienced Greenville workers’ compensation attorney. Contact experienced attorney Dan Pruitt for a consultation based on the facts of your particular case.