You have been working hard at the construction site, on the assembly line, or at the processing plant, and one day you become injured while on the job. Some employers will offer employees a workers compensation package that guarantees your wages and health benefits (if part of your original deal) during the term of an injury you sustained at your place of employment, whether it was due to your negligence, someone else’s related to your company, or, your employers.
In other terms it is described as the “Compensation Bargain” It means that you will not sue your employer for the Tort of negligence for any injury received on the job to get these benefits. This is not just South Carolina law, where I live, but is the spirit of each state’s workers compensation laws.
You also aren’t allowed additional monies for pain and suffering, death, or punitive damages through worker’s compensation plans in any state. For that, you will most likely need to sue or go to court.
One way wages are determined is by taking the previous four quarters of work and dividing them by 52 to arrive at an average weekly income. This may include other benefits as well. When an individual has been at their employer for less than 52 weeks, the average amount someone earned at their same level is determined and that becomes the disbursement. This money will typically come in weekly payments and not a lump sum.
Filing for Workers Comp
One of the most common types of jobs where people are injured at their place of employment or on behalf of their company is the construction field or other blue-collar jobs. Whether it is dealing with dangerous machinery, roofing, highway road crew, bridge builders, or laying cable, the very physical nature of these jobs creates a greater risk of on-the-job injury than let’s say a secretary or telephone sales rep.
If you have been injured on the job, the first thing you need to do is let your employer know that you have been hurt, then seek medical attention. You will then need to fill out either a Form 50 or 52 with the South Carolina Workers Compensation Commission.
That’s sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Yet, it can be a more complex process, therefore a more difficult one than you might imagine. Workers Comp Attorney Elrod Pope’s website suggests that you do not hesitate in filling out the requisite forms before the statute of limitations expires and you miss your opportunity to gain compensation. If your claim is denied, or your employer fights you on this issue, it may be wise to hire a workers comp attorney to make sure your rights are protected and that you receive what you rightfully deserve.
Local, State, and Federal Government and Workers Comp
In 1943, the state of South Carolina developed their first State Accident Fund (SAF) and now covers over 700,000 workers. And not to worry, if you work for the state of South Carolina, you are eligible for workers compensation if injury guidelines are met, which means, you were actually injured during a work-related episode, and not off from the job.
Each locality has its own laws, whether it is Summerville, Fort Mill, or Hilton Head. You would need to check with each on the laws governing this topic.
Federal Law allows federal employees to file for workers comp under certain conditions.
Because states have their own workers comp departments, a federal employee living in South Carolina may not file with the state to gain compensation, but must file through a special federal system called the Federal Employee’s Compensation Act (FECA), which allows claims to be brought up when disablement or death has occurred.
Other similar programs fall under and include the Federal Employers Liability Act, which provides respite to those engaged in interstate transportation, for example. The Jones Act provides for injuries to seamen, and there are other similar ones for those who are longshoremen or work for the federal government on the coast within our national boundaries.
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