Value of a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim
If an employee suffers an on-the-job injury in South Carolina, the employer must pay the employee’s medical expenses and workers’ compensation benefits. An employee may settle a workers’ compensation claim and receive a lump sum immediately, rather than periodic payments. It is important to note that, worker’s compensation limits the amount one can receive from their employer. Many factors determine the value of a workers’ compensation claim.
Temporary disability benefits
South Carolina requires an employer to pay an injured employee temporary benefits until the employee returns to work or reaches maximum medical improvement. The employee receives two-thirds of their average weekly wage up to the state’s maximum ($845.74 for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2019). Temporary disability benefits are paid until your condition has improved until no more medical treatment is necessary or until you are able to return to work.
Permanent disability benefits
Once the employee reaches maximum medical improvement, a doctor will determine if the employee suffers permanent disability. If, in fact, the doctor determines that you are permanently disabled, then you will continue to receive payments. Permanent total disabilities are serious and include paralysis, brain damage, the loss of limbs, eyes or a combination of these. For total permanent disability, the injured employee receives two-thirds of their average weekly wage for up to 500 weeks. In some cases, such as brain damage or paralysis, the worker receives benefits for life.
For permanent partial disability, the worker receives benefits for scheduled or unscheduled injuries. South Carolina law assigns a number of weeks to certain body parts, for example, 220 weeks for an arm and 195 weeks for a leg. So, if a worker has a permanent disability of 10 percent to an arm, they would receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage for 22 weeks. For unscheduled injuries, a doctor will assign a percentage of disability to the body as a whole. The worker may receive an additional award up to 50 weeks for a serious disfigurement, for example, a large scar on the face.
Settlement of a workers’ compensation claim
There are two types of workers’ compensation settlements in South Carolina. A clincher agreement releases the employer and its insurance carrier from any further liability. In a Form 16A settlement, some medical expenses may continue to be covered, and the employee may request additional compensation within one year of the last payment of benefits.
What affects the value of a settlement:
- The worker’s average weekly wage
- The number of weeks of benefits paid before the settlement
- The employee’s permanent impairment rating
- How the disability affects the worker’s ability to earn income
- Whether the worker’s future medical expenses are closed by the agreement
If you suffered an injury on the job, call a workers’ compensation attorney at Steinberg Law Firm 24/7 at 843-720-2800, make an appointment at www.steinberglawfirm.com, or visit our offices in Charleston, Goose Creek or Summerville.