How Workers Compensation Commissioners Become Commissioners
In South Carolina, workers compensation Commissioners are appointed by the Governor for six (6) year terms. Usually, they are lawyers who have practiced workers compensation law but not always. Recently, Governor Nikki Haley appointed Mike Campbell as an Interim Commissioner until a permanent replacement can be made for outgoing Commissioner Andrea Roche who has resigned, effective July 31, 2014. Mr. Campbell is a business development consultant and former member of the board of directors for the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Small Business Committee. He is described by the Governor as having insights that will make him both “business friendly and fair.” Commissioner Campbell has similarly pledged a “better and fairer climate for employers and workers in our State.” Here in Rock Hill, we hope and trust that the new Commissioner will be both diligent and fair to both parties. Of course, as a Rock Hill workers compensation claimant’s attorney, I am reminded that South Carolina workers compensation laws were specifically enacted to protect our injured workers. Businesses will be fine if they take proper safeguards to protect their employees. If somone get hurt or injured, that is why we have workers compensation insurance.
As a Rock Hill workers compensation lawyer, I have worked with many different Commissioners over my 25 year career. While many lawyers profess a law degree is necessary, I found some of the Commission’s best former Commissioners were non-lawyers. Commissioners Thomas Marchant and David Huffstetler are great examples. Back when hearings were held in Rock Hill at the York County Complex, these former Commissioners were often instrumental in helping to resolve cases before an actual hearing by working with the parties to achieve a fair result for both sides. In more complex denied cases, lawyers were given ample opportunity to present their positions, and decisions, even if against a client’s interest, were well reasoned and factually based. Today, Rock Hill hearings are now scheduled at Rock Hill City Hall. Those few lawyers who regularly practice workers compensation law here in York County welcome the new Commissioner to Rock Hill and look forward to trying our cases before him. Cases heard in York County include on-the-job injury and work accidents which occur in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, and Indian Land. Injury cases from other counties are heard in those counties, and the seven (7) workers comp Commissioners rotate their venues throughout the year. It helps to learn the different Commissioners and their individual preferences on how they want written medical reports and other evidence presented as well as what areas of focus in testimony they need to be able to make rulings and decisions. Good luck Commissioner Campbell.