South Carolina Workplace Injury Lawyer
Some Recent Case Results
Workplace injuries are often some of the worst injuries people can face. Many serious workplace injuries involve debilitating back injuries, serious brain trauma, amputation, and permanent, disabling injuries.
If you were hurt and lost time at work, you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits to help you and your family continue to get wages and get medical treatments covered. In some other situations, you could be entitled to file a lawsuit instead, potentially opening up additional areas of compensation.
For help, talk to our South Carolina workplace injury lawyers about how best to get your injuries and lost wages compensated. At Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers, we offer free case reviews. Call us today at (803) 451-4000 to get started.
Damages Available for Workplace Injuries in South Carolina
What damages you can claim in your injury case will depend on which system you file through. In most workplace injury cases, workers are required to file through Workers’ Compensation, which will pay certain damages. If you are able to take your case to court, you could be entitled to additional damages.
Through a Workers’ Compensation claim, victims of workplace injuries can usually receive money to cover their medical bills and a portion of ongoing lost wages. Typically, medical bills are covered in full, but your employer and their insurance company may require you to use certain doctors. Lost wages are reimbursed at a rate of 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage (based on the previous 52 weeks’ wages).
Payments are usually not available for other damages caused by the accident, and you cannot claim compensation for pain and suffering.
If you are able to file a lawsuit for your injuries, you may be entitled to additional damages. First, there is no presumptive restriction on what doctor you have to use, and you should be entitled to compensation for any care you received because of the injury. Additionally, there is no limit to 66 2/3% of your lost wages, so you can potentially claim full compensation for lost wages. Lastly, you should be able to claim damages for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages related to your injuries.
Other damages might be available as well. However, there are other hurdles to overcome, and these lawsuits are not available for all injured workers. Talk to our South Carolina workplace injury lawyers for more details.
When Is a Lawsuit Available Instead of Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?
Workers’ Compensation is typically the required route to compensation for people injured at work. While this system might have reduced benefits compared to a lawsuit, it does not require a worker to prove fault to get benefits. Typically, when suing for injuries, you must prove that the defendant is at fault, which can require evidence and testimony to prove the case. In many work injury cases, the accident is actually caused by the injured worker or a coworker, and victims might not be able to hold their employer at fault for those injuries. Because of this, Workers’ Compensation can actually get you benefits when a lawsuit would not have been winnable.
However, there may still be opportunities where you can file a lawsuit instead of going through the Workers’ Compensation system. This could open up the additional damages discussed above, but your South Carolina workplace injury lawyers must have the evidence and legal arguments to prove the defendant was at fault.
The loopholes that allow you to sue instead of using Workers’ Compensation are few and far between in South Carolina, but include the following:
In some states, people working as independent contractors are not considered “employees” for the purposes of Workers’ Compensation, and they are allowed to file lawsuits instead of relying on Workers’ Compensation benefits. However, South Carolina law considers most workers employees, potentially even including most contractors and subcontractors. However, there are some situations where independent contractors are not considered “employees.”
“Casual” employees might not be counted as employees either if their work is not the typical trade or business of the “employer.” For example, a caterer at a corporate holiday party or a neighbor being paid to mow someone’s lawn might not be covered by Workers’ Compensation and could be entitled to sue the person who hired them for injuries on the job.
Certain workers are also excluded from the definition of “employee,” such as real estate agents. Thus, they would not be covered by Workers’ Compensation either and can often sue for workplace injuries.
Some Truck Drivers
Certain truck drivers are considered “valid independent contractors” if they are under a lease-purchase or installment-purchase agreement for their vehicle from a different company than the one they are working for. If you fall under this category, the company that hired you to drive for them may be able to include you under their Workers’ Compensation policy anyway, but that is not necessarily required. Talk to a South Carolina workplace injury lawyer for more information.
If someone other than your employer is responsible for your injuries at work, you may be able to sue them. Workers’ Compensation restrictions only block you from suing your employer for injuries at work, not other parties. So, if your injuries were caused by a negligent driver, negligent equipment manufacturer, or some other third party, you might be entitled to sue them instead of relying fully on Workers’ Compensation.
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