Why is Workers Compensation Considered a “Limited Remedy?”
Many hard working clients who are injured on the job are surprised the law can limit one’s recovery. The limits are rooted in the original Workers Compensation Act passed in the 1930’s when the state legislature enacted Workers Compensation laws as a compromise between the unions and big business. Before Workers Compensation was passed, an injured employee would have to bring a suit against his employer. In order to bring suit, the employee would have to prove the employer did something wrong that caused the injury. This eliminated recovery for many as a majority of injuries were purely accidental through no one’s fault such as a lifting injury or a trip and fall. Even if an employee could show fault on the part of the employer, he would have to wait with no benefits for any recovery until the case was tried or settled.
When South Carolina passed Workers Compensation laws, a deal was struck that would allow the employee to receive certain benefits no matter whose fault caused the injury. In exchange for benefits such as medical treatment, pay while off work, and lump sum payments for permanent disability to certain body parts, the injured worker would not be allowed to sue his employer in court for pain, suffering, or loss of enjoyment of life.
The law limits recovery by body parts such as a maximum of 220 weeks of compensation for a permanent arm injury, or 195 weeks for a leg injury. Absent brain damage or paralysis, there is even a 500 week limit for the entire claim even you are found totally and permanently disabled. While there are limits to recovery the law recognizes each injury is different and thus recovery can vary depending on the circumstances.
At the Steinberg Law Firm, our founders helped write the South Carolina Workers Compensation laws. We can help maximize your recovery and make sure you are receiving all the benefits allowed under the law. If you have been injured on the job and have questions, call us at one of our locations in Charleston, Summerville or Goose Creek or email us at [email protected].
Charleston 843-720-2800 Summerville 843-821-6522 Goose Creek 572-0700