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Is Workers’ Compensation Affected by Fault?

Workplace injuries are life-altering events that can take a long time to recover from. Some people may never be able to return to work. People who are injured at work may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are intended to provide injured workers with financial support when they are unable to work or earn a paycheck. How does one get such benefits, and do they have to prove fault to qualify?

No-Fault System

In South Carolina, workers’ compensation benefits are based on a no-fault system. This means that judges do not consider fault when deciding whether a person is eligible for, or entitled to, workers’ compensation.

If a person’s own negligence played a role in their injury, it will not necessarily prevent them from being awarded workers’ compensation. Some examples of nonqualifying actions for workers’ compensation include:

  • A person being intoxicated at work and becoming injured because of it
  • Someone intentionally injuring themselves at work to seek compensation
  • If someone’s behavior was unprofessional and it resulted in their injury, like racing on company equipment

If someone’s injury was caused by negligence on behalf of their employer, it will not necessarily improve their chances of receiving workers’ compensation, nor will it increase the amount of compensation they receive.

How Do I File a Claim?

An employee who endures an injury at work needs to inform their employer about the injury within 90 days. Someone might be eligible for an extension to the 90-day requirement if:

  • Their employer was already aware of the incident
  • Their injury caused them to be mentally or physically unable to report the incident
  • They were defrauded by a third party

Technically, employers are responsible for reporting workplace injuries to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. However, an injured employee can file their own claim if their employer does not do it or if they feel they are entitled to more benefits. To report a workplace injury in South Carolina, the injured party must:

  • Fill out South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission Form 50. This form tells the commission about the circumstances of the accident and what has occurred since.
  • If the workplace injury resulted in the employee’s death, their family can report on their behalf. They can do so using Form 52 from the commission.

Filing Deadlines

The statute of limitations on filing workers’ compensation claims in South Carolina is 2 years from the date of their accident. However, some injuries develop over time, and these can also make an employee eligible for compensation under South Carolina law.

For injuries that take time to develop, the 2-year statute of limitations begins at the time the employee discovered or could have discovered their injury, within reason.

Requesting a Hearing

Anyone going through the workers’ compensation system has the right to request a hearing with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. These hearings are beneficial to employees who want to dispute the amount of compensation they receive. Anyone considering requesting a hearing should do so with the support of a lawyer with experience in workers’ compensation.

An attorney will help the employee understand the complicated laws regarding evidence and the standard of proof in workers’ compensation cases. Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC can help prevent a workers’ compensation insurance company from taking advantage of an employee who is reasonably unaware of the rules.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you have been injured at work and have questions regarding the workers’ compensation process, contact Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC today. Our talented and experienced attorneys understand that work injuries can be demoralizing and leave employees with a lot of questions, which is why we focus on both the broad issues and the little details. Our goal is to thoroughly investigate your workplace injury and get you the maximum benefits you deserve. Contact us today at (843) 968-0886 or through our online contact form.