Under South Carolina workers’ compensation law, injured employees may qualify for certain benefits. Eligibility is based on the employee working for a covered employer and the injuries must arise in the course of employment:
Medical care and treatment – Injured workers will be able to receive medical care and treatment until they reach what the law calls maximum medical treatment. As part of this treatment, the worker is eligible for mileage to and from the doctor’s office. The employer’s insurance company usually has priority in choosing the doctor, and any disagreements can be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Temporary Total Disability Payments – Injured workers who are unable to work are eligible for weekly payments equal to 2/3 of their average weekly wage (called the “compensation rate”) until such time as they reach maximum medical improvement.
Compensation for Permanent Impairment – After the injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement, they are eligible for payment for any permanent impairment. The payment amount is determined by taking into account the rate of compensation, the percentage of disability, and the specific body parts involved.
Additional benefits are also available to those who are permanently and totally disabled, or to employees who have died as a result of the injury.
To be eligible for these benefits it is necessary for the employee to notify their supervisor as soon as possible after their injury. The employer must then notify its insurer of the claim and advise the employee on how to initiate medical treatment. Usually this is done through a local emergency room or urgent care center. In the event the employer does not have insurance, or the insurance company does not authorize medical treatment, it will be necessary to file a claim directly with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Claims are resolved through administrative hearings or informal conferences, and not through a courtroom trial. Employees with questions about their rights or eligibility to receive benefits should always consult with a qualified workers’ compensation attorney.