How long you can receive workers’ compensation in South Carolina depends on the severity of your injury. In most cases, according to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, you can receive benefits until your doctor clears you to return to work. This could last for up to 500 weeks.
However, if your injury resulted in paraplegia, quadriplegia, or a severe brain injury, you could recover compensation for life, per S.C. Code of Laws § 42-9-10.
Once your claim for workers’ compensation is accepted, you will have to wait until your injury has caused you to miss seven days of work, if it has not already. At that point, you will start to receive benefits. Your employer’s insurance carrier will send you weekly checks in the mail that account for 66 ⅔% of your income for the last four quarters.
How do I Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If you were injured in an on-the-job accident, make sure to report the injury to your employer right away. You can then begin the process of applying for and collecting workers’ compensation benefits. Once you are well enough to go back to work, you will no longer receive benefits.
Unfortunately, some injuries are so severe that a full recovery is impossible, leaving a worker with a permanent disability or impairment. In such cases, the injured worker may be entitled to permanent disability benefits to help compensate for this loss.
In the event that an accident resulted in a worker’s death, their surviving spouse and/or their dependents may file a claim for workers’ compensation. A South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer can explain in further detail who else may be able to file a claim on behalf of a decedent.
Going Back to Work After Being Injured on the Job
While you are receiving workers’ compensation, you will continue to receive treatment and examinations from a doctor chosen by your employer or their insurance carrier. Workers’ compensation benefits will cover all treatments deemed necessary to help you recover as much as possible. In some cases, it may also cover travel expenses related to these treatments.
When your doctor decides that you are ready to return to work, they may do so with or without setting conditions. If their permission is unconditional, you are fit to perform your duties in the same way you did before the accident.
If their permission is conditional, you are able to perform light duties as your injury continues to heal. Your doctor’s permission, whether conditional or unconditional, means that you are no longer eligible to receive workers’ compensation.
You do not have to wait for word from your doctor to go back to work. However, if you return to light duty before your doctor gives you the official go-ahead, you could end up earning less than your usual salary. In this case, you may be entitled to a small amount of workers’ compensation to help make up the difference between your normal salary and your reduced one.
If a doctor clears you to go back to work, yet you still feel unable to perform your regular duties, you can file an appeal.
Resolving Workers’ Compensation Disputes
If your doctor decides that you are fit to return to work, even at light duty, and you refuse to do so for any reason, you may lose your workers’ compensation benefits. But that does not mean all is lost. If a disagreement arises about your ability to go back to work, you may request a hearing with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
At the hearing, you will have the chance to explain why you believe that you are unable to fulfill your job-related duties. A commissioner will listen to the arguments made by both you and the insurer. If you or the insurer disagrees with the commissioner’s decision, either of you may appeal the decision. This will lead to a hearing before the entire Workers’ Compensation Commission.
You also have the right to a hearing if you have a disagreement with your employer regarding the validity of your workers’ compensation claim.
Call George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers for More Information
How long you can receive workers’ compensation in South Carolina ultimately rests on the details of your case. If you applied for workers’ compensation and are experiencing difficulty in getting the benefits you need, you can work with a lawyer throughout the process.
George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers helps claimants in South Carolina get the benefits they deserve. Our team can review the aspects of your case and determine what options for financial recovery are available to you.
To start a free, no-obligation consultation and case review with a member of our team, call us or fill out our online form.