In two recent unanimous decisions, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that workers’ compensation insurance will now cover injuries sustained by falls in the workplace. The circumstances surrounding both decisions involved office workers who were hurt in falls that were not caused by a specific problem with the office or other workplace hazard, but did occur when the employees were performing job-related tasks. In both cases, lower courts had ruled that the employees could be denied because there wasn’t a hazard specific to the workplace that was the direct cause of the injuries.
What This Means For South Carolina Workers
By holding that it is not relevant if an accident could have occurred anywhere, not just in the workplace, the South Carolina Supreme Court has confirmed the right of employees to be compensated for a broad range of injuries that can occur on the job and not just ones that are specific occupational hazards. This both protects employees and supports the public interest reasons that workers’ compensation laws were enacted to begin with.
Almost every worker in South Carolina is assumed to be covered by the State’s Workers’ Compensation Act, and employers with few exceptions are required to either carry insurance policies or file proof of the financial ability to pay the statutory amounts out of pocket to injured employees. This coverage is to pay an injured employee’s medical expenses, lost wages while they are recovering from their injuries, and, in the worst case scenarios, to compensate them for permanent disability, disfigurement, or death. Occupational diseases, any chronic ailment caused as a result of a job or occupational activity, are also treated as an injury occurring through a work related accident. Thus, asbestosis, black lung disease, some cancers, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar job-related maladies are potentially compensable if it is caused by a recognized hazard of a particular occupation as a direct result of normal working conditions. The specific amounts that are to be paid out on a claim are established by the state’s Employment Security Commission, and are adjusted periodically to cover economic conditions.
Report Accidents Immediately
It is important to keep in mind that if an employee does not report an on the job injury quickly they can potentially forfeit the compensation that they are due under the Workers’ Compensation Act. An accident must be reported to your employer no later than 90 days after it happens, and claims for compensation must be brought within two years of the event or else the claim will be barred by the statute of limitations and the employee will be left without the assistance that they are rightfully entitled to under the law.
Once an accident has been reported to an employer, they must forward the information to the Employment Security Commission within 10 days. Should they fail to do so, or if the employee and their employer do not reach an agreement about the claim within 14 days, the employee can apply for a hearing with a commissioner to resolve the issue.
Contact an Experienced Greenville Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
The workers’ compensation system is designed to help you in your time of need, but it can sometimes be tricky to negotiate, especially if your employer or their insurance company attempts to prevent you from receiving the compensation you are entitled to. If you or a loved one is struggling with a work-related injury in or around Greenville, South Carolina the Dan Pruitt Law Firm is here to help. Get an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Greenville on your side. Contact our office today to set up a no-cost consultation.