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How is a work-related injury defined in South Carolina?

Many people who are injured while on the job each year in South Carolina may be aware that they could be eligible to seek workers' compensation for losses they suffer as a result of the injury, but some of them may not know how the state defines a work-related injury. It turns out that work-related injuries are defined broadly and encompass more than just physical injuries.

South Carolina law provides a list of categories that define types of work-related injuries. If an employee can prove that stress, mental illness and mental injuries were caused by his or her employment conditions, he or she may be able to receive workers' compensation for those injuries even if he or she did not receive an accompanying physical injury.

Stress, mental illness and mental injuries that were aggravated by a work-related physical injury may also be considered work-related injuries per se. In these cases, however, the employer or employer's insurance carrier must allow such claims, or a physician must confirm that the aggravation was caused by the physical injury and note it accordingly in the employee's medical record. Medically complex cases require the employee to prove the injuries received occurred during the course of employment through medical records.

The required burden of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence, which means that more evidence than not bolsters the plaintiff's claim. When a person's employer refuses to provide workers' compensation for injuries or the aggravation of pre-existing injuries that the employee believes were caused by the job, the employee may wish to consult with an attorney. Since each case presents unique circumstances, the above is not intended as legal advice, so it's important to secure advice on an individual basis from an attorney, particularly if an employee meets with resistance from his or her employer in filing a workers' compensation claim. An attorney could fight for the employee's rights through negotiation and in court appearances or represent him or her in an appeal.

Source: South Carolina Code of Laws, "Title 42 - Workers' Compensation", October 10, 2014

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Anderson, SC 29621

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