South Carolina’s injured workers are entitled to three main benefits: 1) medical treatment; 2) payment for time missed due to injury; and 3) compensation for any permanent disability. When a worker sustains an on-the-job injury, she should immediately notify her employer. The employer should then send the injured employee to the doctor. All medical treatment related to the injury is suppose to be paid for by the employer’s insurance company. The same way we have auto insurance to protect other drivers and ourselves, most SC employers possess workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees. State law requires businesses with four or more employees to carry workers’ comp coverage. Therefore, when an injured worker seeks medical care, it is generally the insurance company, not the employer, who is paying for treatment.
The insurer must pay for all treatment that “tends to lessen the degree of disability.” In other words, they have to pay for all medical care that helps heal an injured worker. Even when an employee has reached “maximum medical improvement,” the insurance company may still have to pay for future treatment.
If an employee is unable to work because of an on-the-job injury, or the employer cannot offer work that falls within a doctor’s restrictions, the injured worker should receive what most people call a “workers’ comp check.” The legal term for these payments is “temporary total disability.” The amount of the check depends on how much money an employee was earning prior to the accident. Temporary total disability (TTD) payments equal two-thirds (2/3) of an employee’s pretax, weekly wage. For instance, if you earned an average of $600 per week before the injury, you would receive weekly TTD payments in the amount of $400. As an SC workers’ comp lawyer, I subpoena wage information from our state’s Department of Employment and Workforce to guarantee insurance companies are paying workers’ comp clients the full amount they are owed.
When an injured worker reaches MMI, the treating doctor will be asked to assign an “impairment rating.” The impairment rating, along with the injured worker’s education, work history, and physical restrictions are all taken into account when determining the degree of disability. For example, a torn meniscus may require arthroscopic knee surgery. Even after the surgery, the injured worker may experience swelling and daily pain. This may result in the treating physician issuing a 5% impairment rating. If the worker had only a high school education and a work-history defined by heavy labor, he may never return to his former job. Furthermore, he may be unable to find a sit-down job. For these reasons, a 5% impairment rating could translate to 15% disability. The same injury might only produce a 10% disability for lifelong administrators, because such workers are not as affected by the impairment. Your settlement is based in large part on your disability rating, and also factors in your future medical needs.
Allow Us To Answer Any More Questions You May Have
If you think this sounds confusing, I do as well. However, as a Columbia, SC workers’ compensation attorney, it is my job to guide clients to the best possible outcome. My firm is committed to the rights of injured workers and the guarantees South Carolina law provides. We fight to ensure all medical treatment is provided, that clients are receiving TTD checks in a timely manner, and that insurance companies properly compensate workers for all permanent injuries and effects. To find out how we can be of service, call me today at (803) 790-2800.