Workers’ Compensation Matters: The Potential Dangers of Self-Insured Employers

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Every state has its own workers’ compensation laws that are designed to protect the health and safety of employees while at the same time preventing employers from massive monetary losses in the event of a workplace accident. South Carolina is no different, and has laws in place to ensure that workplace injuries can be handled in a timely manner. Workers’ compensation generally is a way for an employee to recover necessary medical treatment as soon as possible after an accident.  Under the law, employers are required to carry minimum levels of insurance to cover the costs of injuries to their employees, or prove that the company has sufficient funds to pay for any costs to injured workers. Their failure to do so is a violation and punishable by fines payable to the state.  

 

Self-Insurance

 

There are some employers who choose to forego obtaining a workers’ compensation policy and instead choose to self-insure. What this means is that the employer must prove to the state that it has sufficient funds to cover any potential injury to an employee.The state must then approve the company’s application and submit annual audit statements to the Workers’ Compensation Commission for review. They are also required to pay a self-insurance tax and an annual assessment to the South Carolina Second Injury Fund. Failure to secure sufficient monies to pay any claims that may be filed against it may lead to significant fines being assessed against the employer.  If the employer’s actions are deemed to be willful, it may be found guilty of a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment.

 

Recovering from an Uninsured Employer

 

The workers’ compensation system was designed to protect employees, and allow them to receive necessary medical care without first proving their employer was negligent in a court of law. Society determined that a system providing immediate benefits to employees was a better way to protect workers who were injured and help employers continue day-to-day operations without being sidelined by lengthy litigation. This system has been so successful that some employees believe that they no longer need to obtain an attorney to recover the benefits to which they are entitled.  Unfortunately, too many employees discover that their employers do not have sufficient insurance to cover their medical bills and can find themselves bullied into settlement agreements that only cover a portion of their injuries.

 

This does not mean that employees who discover that their employer was uninsured (or underinsured) are left without recourse. It does mean that at this point it may be necessary for an employee to report their employer and fight to obtain the benefits they need to make a full recovery. Luckily, workers in South Carolina may be able to recover through the Uninsured Employers Fund. This fund was created by South Carolina legislators to protect employees, but still requires the employee to seek an order from the Commission before it will pay out any benefits.

 

A Workers’ Compensation Attorney You Can Trust

 

If you or a loved one has been injured at work and have questions about workers’ compensation coverage, call a Greenville workers’ compensation attorney at the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm today. We are ready to advocate for you to help you recover the compensation that you deserve.

Get in touch with us today to get started with your FREE case review. We’re only a call, click, or short drive away.