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WEEKLY BENEFITS IN SC WORKERS’ COMP CASES

One of our clients’ first and most pressing concerns when they meet with us is how to get their weekly benefits started. They have to be able to pay their bills and provide for their family. We understand and appreciate that stress and will do our best to get your weekly checks coming as quickly as possible. South Carolina workers compensation laws dictate how much you get and when those benefits begin…

When do weekly benefits start?

SC Code of Laws Section 42-9-200 mandates when benefits start and states, “no compensation shall be allowed for the first seven (7) calendar days of disability resulting from an injury…but, if the injury results in disability of more than fourteen days, compensation shall be allowed from the date of the disability.” Provided an injured worker is written out of work by an authorized treating physician or placed on light duty restrictions that cannot be accommodated by the employer, the carrier begins owing weekly benefits on the eighth (8th) day. If the employee remains out of work for a total of fourteen (14) days, the employer will owe back benefits for the first seven (7) days. Benefits will continue while under authorized medical care or until light duty restricted work is offered by the employer. What if the injured worker cannot perform offered light duty work?

What happens if my employer is uninsured?

You have been seriously injured while at work and on-the-job. Now you learn that your employer has let their workers compensation insurance lapse or never had it in the first place. Is this the end of the story for you and your family? In South Carolina, the answer is NO. If you find yourself in this situation, the process can be complicated, but ultimately, your medical bills, lost wages, and permanent disability will be paid by the SC Uninsured Employers Fund. While there may be unscrupulous employers who start out with the intention of not carrying the necessary and required SC workers compensation insurance, many otherwise good companies simply have a downturn in their business and cannot afford to maintain insurance. Not surprisingly, the most dangerous jobs carry the highest SC workers compensation insurance premiums. Construction businesses, and roofers especially, have premiums that can easily become their highest expense second only to labor costs. But when the economy slows, payments of those premiums can get behind or even lapse, and policies get cancelled. When someone gets hurt, the employer will be ultimately found to be operating as an illegal self-insured business. Thankfully, in South Carolina, our legislature has provided for a backup system of workers comp payments.

 

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