A typical workers' compensation claim begins with an employee being injured while on the job. The injured employee typically will report the injury to his or her supervisor, who makes a written report of the injury. If the employee’s injury requires examination or medical treatment, the supervisor then directs the employee to an appropriate medical facility, which may be a local hospital’s emergency department, a general practitioner, or a specialist physician. Pursuant to the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Law, the employer is responsible for the cost of any such treatment.
Following such examination and treatment, an injured employee may be given written work restrictions by the treating physician. For example, the injured employee may be directed to not lift more than ten (10) pounds or to not stand for more than thirty (30) minutes. Upon receipt of such written work restrictions, the employer has the option to provide the employee with a temporary employment position that meets such work restrictions or to hold the employee out of work until his or her condition improves and he or she may resume regular job duties. If the employer elects to hold the injured employee out of work until his or her condition improves, upon the employee being out of work for fourteen (14) days the employer is required to pay the employee temporary compensation.
In addition to medical treatment and temporary compensation, an additional element of compensation an injured worker may be entitled to is permanent disability compensation. Permanent disability compensation applies when, despite receiving all available medical and rehabilitative treatment, an employee still has a permanent injury or disabling condition. Based upon the treating physician’s assessment of the employee’s injury and his or her resulting physical limitations, as well as upon the employee’s age, education, work experience, and other life circumstances, an award of permanent disability compensation is either reached by agreement between the employee and the employer or is decided by a workers' compensation Commissioner.
The foregoing describes a typical workers' compensation claim. However, every claim is different, and every employee injured on the job in South Carolina is encouraged to consult with a licensed attorney. Please feel free to contact me, Joseph DuBois, at (843) 686-5500 for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your rights.