In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation is two years from the date of the accident, as stated by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC). Additionally, from the time of the accident, you will have a maximum of 90 days to notify your employer of the accident’s occurrence. Even with these deadlines, you should report your injury to a supervisor immediately to avoid employer arguments that you failed to timely notify them. If the injury and accident are not reported within the above timeframe, your claim may become void, and you will lose your right to compensation. However, if the employer knew of the accident’s occurrence, or if the injured party failed to give notice due to incapacity, claimants can still recover workers’ compensation benefits.
In the event of death due to a workplace accident, the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation extends to two years from the date of death. If the claim is based on an occupational disease acquired due to work conditions, the claim for workers’ compensation must be filed within two years from the date of diagnosis.
Workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect workers who may suffer injuries or contract employer-caused illnesses while on the job. However, in order for the system to run effectively, there are very strict protocols that must be followed. Along these lines is the statute of limitations, which places specific deadlines for specific actions to be completed. If you do not heed these deadlines, then you may forfeit your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
The Discovery Rule for Workers’ Compensation
One exception to the established notice period is the “discovery rule.” In most cases, a worker will be able to state exactly when they were injured and can point to a specific accident or occurrence. However, in the case of repetitive trauma or stress-related injury claims, the discovery rule applies as the point at which the employee discovers the injury. From that moment, they must report the injury within 90 days as outlined in SC Code § 42-15-20.
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Types of Workers’ Compensation Programs
Workers’ compensation offers several types of coverage, depending on the type of injuries suffered and their possible long-term effects. Here is a look at the five types of benefits that may be available to you, depending on the circumstances of your condition.
Temporary Total Disability
This type of workers’ compensation coverage applies to employees who are unable to continue working for a limited period of time due to an injury that occurred on the job. If you are out of work for longer than seven days, weekly compensation will be available at a rate of two-thirds of your average weekly pay. Temporary disability can last for a maximum of 500 weeks. Benefits will no longer be paid once the employee returns to work unless your hours or wages are reduced significantly.
Temporary Partial Disability
This coverage is available when an employee is able to continue working, but not at their previous capacity or earning ability. This coverage will provide payments of two-thirds of the difference between the employee’s pre-injury pay and their post-injury pay, based on their changing roles and responsibilities. This type of compensation may last a maximum of 340 weeks, but the total weeks paid under Temporary Total Disability and Temporary Partial cannot exceed 500 weeks.
Permanent Partial Disability
If an employee is permanently injured or disabled, depending on the seriousness of their injury, they may continue to receive payment at the temporary total disability benefit rate. Some examples of injuries that qualify for this type of workers’ compensation coverage include the loss of multiple body parts. In some instances, such as a brain injury or paraplegia, you may be able to collect benefits for life.
Permanent total disability benefits are available to employees who experience complete, permanent incapacity after suffering a workplace injury. These benefits cannot exceed 500 weeks under most circumstances.
Death benefits may be paid to the dependents of employees who died due to their workplace injuries. They may receive a total of 66.67% of the decedent’s average weekly wages for a maximum of 500 weeks from the accident’s date of occurrence. Additionally, a maximum of $2,500 in burial expenses may be included in benefits received by dependents.
Work with a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
After a workplace injury, it is very important to follow the specific protocol for reporting injuries and seeking a claim. In most cases, the sooner you report and file a claim, the better. While there are instances where it may not be possible to report an injury immediately, it is important to understand that the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation will apply.
If you were injured at work, it may be helpful to discuss your case with a legal professional who understands the intricacies of workers’ compensation laws. Hammack Law Firm may be able to assist you with your case by providing information regarding the specific guidelines that surround your case.
To learn more, contact our team today at 864-514-8192.
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