workers’ compensation laws were developed in North America, when a worker was injured on the
job, he or she would have to sue their employer for damages.
In order for the injured worker to prevail, he or she would have to prove
that their employer was negligent and somehow responsible for their injuries.
This was no easy task, and it could be a long and arduous process for
the injured worker.
As American workers moved away from agriculture and the economy became
more reliant on machines, the number of industrial accidents and subsequent
personal injury lawsuits increased dramatically. By the 20th century,
legislatures and society realized the legal system needed to find a better
way to compensate injured workers; that’s when workers’ compensation
laws were born.
The first workers’ compensation laws were developed in 1911 and they
have been evolving ever since. Today’s workers’ compensation
is a no-fault system where an employee can apply for benefits regardless
of their own degree of fault, unless they were under the influence of
drugs or alcohol when they became injured.
As a general rule, once an injured or sickened worker receives workers’
compensation, they cannot sue their employer for damages. Employers are
shielded from lawsuits when their workers receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Who is covered under workers’ compensation?
In South Carolina, almost all employees are covered under their employer’s
workers’ compensation insurance, with a few limited exceptions.
The classes of employees that are
not covered by workers’ compensation include:
- Railroad employees
- Certain casual employees
- Federal employees in South Carolina
- A business with less than four employees
- Agricultural workers
- Certain real estate persons
If you are a covered employee under South Carolina’s workers’
compensation laws, you can expect to receive compensation if you are injured
during the course of your employment, or if you become ill with an occupational
disease. Workers’ comp also pays death benefits to surviving family members.
Workers’ compensation pays for medical treatment, as well as a percentage
of a worker’s lost wages during their period of disability. It also
compensates workers who suffer from a permanent disability or disfigurement.
Workers’ compensation is paid at a rate of 66 2/3% of an employee’s
average weekly wage, but it cannot exceed 100% of the average weekly wage
for South Carolina. An award for total disability or death cannot be paid
for more than 500 weeks according to state laws.
Searching for a Columbia workers’ compensation lawyer?
Contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC to schedule your free case