South Carolina workers seriously injured on the job that sustain injuries that result in brain damage, paraplegia and/or quadriplegia are entitled to receive lifetime disability benefits under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. S.C. Code Ann. §42-9-10 spells out exactly what what medical and other money damages claimant’s are entitled to when they are injured at work. Paragraph (c) specifically states that those determined to be totally and permanently disabled from their work accident and that suffer one of the three serious injuries noted above, are not subject ot the usually 500 week limitation on benefits. Rather, these workers are entitled to lifetime weekly disability checks.
While the South Carolina legislature has spoken clearly on this issue, it is still up to the hearing Commissioner to decide whether or not the injured worker has met his burden of proving his case. This includes proving that he or she is totally disabled and also that as a component of said disability that they either sustained brain injury, paraplegia or quadriplegia. It is important to note that these serious injuries only have to be a component of the total disability and do not have to be the sole cause of same.
South Carolina brain injuries caused by work accidents are not always easy to prove. Only a small percentage of these injuries show up on a traditional MRI or CT scan. Many times those suffering from brain injury appear normal to the casual observer but family members and friends notice a difference in their memory, ability to multitask and especially their mood just to name a few symptoms. Often times the only way to document these subtle changes to the worker from their injury is for them to undergo neuropsychological testing with a neuropsychologist. This is non-invasive testing that requires the participant to take a series of written and verbal tests that often time reveal the extent of their brain injuries.