Workers’ compensation coverage is a form of insurance that covers work related injuries and illnesses in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and throughout the nation. It was first developed in the United States in the beginning of the 20th century, and has now evolved into the workers’ compensation system that we know today.
The History and Origin of Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage
Prior to the time of workers’ compensation rules, there was a general assumption that employers were liable for any injury, illness, or death of anyone who was harmed through negligence while working. The key word here is ‘negligence,’ meaning that anyone who was harmed on the job would have to do more than prove that the injury or harm was work related. They would also have to prove that the harm resulted from some form of negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the employer.
The trouble with the negligence system for injured workers and their employers was the tremendous expenses of litigating claims and providing evidence of negligence. Further, work related accidents were becoming even more common near the end of the 19th century, as the economy transitioned from an agricultural atmosphere to an industrial atmosphere, where industrial accidents were becoming a more costly issue for everyone involved. This is what led to the developed legal system that we now recognize as workers’ compensation coverage for employees, regardless of how the injury was caused.
The very first laws concerning workers’ compensation coverage were passed in 1911. At this time, it became a legal requirement for employers to cover any expenses associated with the medical treatment and lost wages of an injured or killed employee. From there, employers became responsible for carrying workers’ compensation insurance coverage on their workers to address such expenses and benefits.
In South Carolina, workers’ compensation law is addressed and enforced by the South Carolina Industrial Commission, which was formed in September of 1935. It became the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission in May of 1986, though by then the basic laws and statutes were in place. There have been some changes over the years with different cases, statutes, and policies put in place.
The Major Goals of Spartanburg, South Carolina, Workers’ Compensation Law
There were a few major goals that workers’ compensation law and coverage in Spartanburg, South Carolina were formed to accomplish. These goals include ensuring that employees are covered by the benefits that they need when a work related accident occurs, no matter who caused it and preventing the time consuming and expensive process of litigating such cases as personal injury claims. The workers’ compensation system also prevented charities from bearing the brunt of the needs of injured workers who were without income and facing great medical expenses during the litigation process. It also saved everyone money by greatly minimizing the role of attorneys and court costs.
A further goal and benefit was the increased motivation for employers to ensure that their work environments were safe and that employees followed specific safety procedures when working with dangerous machines and materials. Finally, with the emphasis taken away from the realm of fault and negligence, it became easier and more practical to study the actual causes of such incidents. This meant that rather than covering up the causes of accidents, employers were encouraged to find ways to prevent those accidents by learning how they occurred and what could have been done differently.
Who is Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Spartanburg, South Carolina?
In Spartanburg, South Carolina, almost all employees are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Each employer who regularly employs four or more workers is required to carry such coverage on those workers. There are some exceptions, however. In certain industries, like agricultural work or railway work, there is no requirement for such coverage. Further, in cases where the worker is not classified as an employee, but as an independent contractor, these workers are not covered. Finally, federal employees are not covered by South Carolina workers’ compensation law but rather by the federal system. Other exceptions include realtors, salespersons, and elected officials.
What Kinds of Compensation Can Injured Workers in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Receive?
Whenever a worker is injured in Spartanburg, South Carolina, they can file a workers’ compensation claim to get coverage for all of their medical expenses. This includes emergency care at the nearest ER, medical treatment from a company approved physician, surgical treatment, physical rehabilitation, prescriptions, and even mileage to and from appointments in some cases.
They can also seek wage benefits for any time that they have been out of work beyond seven days. The wage benefits are not the full amount of the worker’s former income, but are calculated at 2/3 of the former average weekly wage. Employers are also allowed to offer light duty positions to meet the medical restrictions of the employee, if possible. If an employer offers such a position, then the worker must accept it: and, if their hours or wage is diminished while on light duty, the employee will receive temporary partial disability benefits at 2/3 the difference between their former pay and their current pay. The maximum amount of time that anyone can receive total disability benefits or death benefits is 500 weeks, and the maximum amount of compensation is determined based on the average weekly wage in South Carolina.
Avoid Having Your Workers’ Compensation Coverage Denied in Spartanburg, South Carolina
You need to make sure that you take all necessary steps to avoid having your workers’ compensation claim denied in Spartanburg, South Carolina. This includes reporting your incident, injury, or illness right away, and filling out the appropriate forms to file the claim. You also need to seek immediate medical treatment to address your injuries and prevent them from becoming worse. This will also prevent your employer from being able to successfully argue that your injury may have occurred in some other way.
In cases where your employer will not help you file for workers’ compensation or cases where your claim is unfairly denied, contact a Spartanburg, South Carolina, workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about how you can proceed from here. Just because your claim is denied, this does not necessarily mean that you are not entitled to benefits. Call Bryan Ramey, P.A. for a FREE consultation to learn more.
Bryan Ramey is a Personal Injury Attorney who practices in the upstate of South Carolina. He graduated from The University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 27 years now. Bryan Ramey believes in representing the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.