Live in South Carolina and have been injured on the job or at work? As our injury and accident attorneys in Charleston know, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act of 2007 has many new changes that effect the working men and women of South Carolina. Not all of the changes are bad for workers but it is important that those filing a claim for an on the job accident be familiar with the new law. Many employees rights, including how they get their medical care and treatment and how and when they are entitled to weekly disability benefits and other compensation when hurt in an accident while at work has recently been reworked by the the South Carolina legislature. Some examples follow:
First the good news: Claimant’s with prior accidents and medical conditions can still combine their pre-existing impairments with their new injuries to prove greater disability. Also, injuries to the shoulder and the hip are two new body parts now statutorily recognized by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. The shoulder total value is worth 300 weeks of benefits and the hip total value is now worth 280 weeks of benefits.
Now the bad news: In complex medical and occupational disease cases, the injured worker must now prove by medical evdience that their injury occurred in the course of their employment. Also, many truck drivers are now exluded from work injury medical treatment and compensation as many will now be considered independent contractors. Workers with back and neck injuries now face a tougher standard when seeking to be found totally disabled as a result of loss of use of their spine. These changes and many more make it more difficult for the injured and their families to make a recovery under the workers’ compensation act in South Carolina.
Finally, repetitive trauma injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder rotator cuff injuries, are now harder to prove. Those injured on the job must now have medical evidence from a qualified medical physician linking their injuries to their work and must obtain a specific finding the the hearing commissioner that the claimant’s job duties caused a repetitive trauma injury.
Referenced above are just a few of the many changes made to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. Anyone filing a workers’ compensation claim needs to be aware of the new law to take advantage of its benefits to those hurt on the job and to avoid the pitfalls and the unknown.