People who have been injured on the job in South Carolina may be unsure of their rights when they prepare to seek workers’ compensation benefits. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act entitles injured workers to certain considerations and protections in the process of filing a claim or appeal.
South Carolina workers’ compensation laws state that injured workers are entitled to compensation for their medical expenses and part of their average weekly wage. In general, employers must pay injured workers two-thirds of their average weekly wage, which includes income earned from second jobs the injured person may have held at the time of the injury. Some injured workers are eligible to receive permanent and total disability benefits.
People who suffer disabling injuries in the course of performing their duties at work have the right to choose the doctor who determines whether they have a disability and to receive the treatment they need for their work-related disability. This ensures that doctors affiliated with the employer or their insurance company will not be biased in their diagnosis. However, after the worker receives the diagnosis, their employer may choose the doctor who treats them. Contested workers’ compensation claims are heard by a workers’ compensation commissioner, who issues a ruling on the case that includes the benefits the injured person will receive. The worker has the right to appeal the decision if it is adverse.
Injured workers also have the right to legal representation during the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim. People whose claims have been denied or whose claims are contested by their employers find that they benefit from consulting with workers’ compensation attorneys who can represent clients in hearings, take depositions from doctors and gather other evidence in support of their claims.
Source: South Carolina Bar, “Your Rights Under the SC Workers Compensation Act“, October 19, 2014