The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission is the state agency in South Carolina vested with responsibility for overseeing the workers’ compensation system. Its job is to make sure employers are properly insured, to respond to complaints about work injuries and to oversee appeals when insurers and workers disagree on whether a worker is eligible for benefits or on the appropriate benefits for an injured worker.
S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission compiles statistics on workers’ compensation and workplace accidents. The most recent available statistics are from the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012.
According to the statistics, provided in the 2011-2012 Annual Report:
- 61,788 accident cases were filed with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. These cases included 59,408 new cases and 2,380 reopened cases.
- There were 26,418 individually reported accidents during the fiscal year.
- 36,624 reports of minor medical-only accidents were reported. Workers’ compensation benefits can cover all medical bills in full. When only minor medical bills are incurred and no work is missed, the case qualifies as a medical-only accident. If an injury is more serious and causes time off of work, then workers’ compensation benefits can compensate for missed work time and for ongoing disability benefits if necessary.
- $867,040,779 was paid out in total compensation and medical costs on closed cases during the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Of this, $326,601,559 went to paying medical costs and $539,439,220 went to paying for other compensation.
- 3,481 agreements for permanent disability were entered into during the fiscal year. When a work injury prevents a worker from ever going back to work, the worker can obtain ongoing permanent disability benefits for the rest of his or her life.
- 1,769 applications were filed to stop payment. Formally called consent agreements, 60 days’ notice is required to stop payment.
- Hearings were scheduled for 11,121 cases. Benefits denials can be appealed to internal workers’ compensation boards and presided over by commissioners from the board. Only after the administrative appeals process is exhausted can injured workers appeal to the state courts for help with denied workers’ comp claims.
- 560 cases appealed to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission for review. When a worker believes that a hearing in front of a commissioner did not result in a fair outcome, the decision of the commissioner can be appealed internally. A panel of commissioners will then review the decision that was made.
- 10,372 common law settlements were reached. When a workers’ compensation case settles, the injured worker and the insurance company come to an agreement on benefits. Having an attorney assist with this process and make sure an agreement provides full and comprehensive coverage of past costs, as well as future medical bills, is very important.
- 75,893 employers purchased workers’ compensation insurance for one or more employees.
- 1,868 employers qualified as “self-insured,” meaning they had the funds and were willing to take on the responsibility of covering injured workers themselves.
- There are 681 active investigations into workers’ compensation benefits claims going into the fiscal year.
- 921 new investigations were initiated during the fiscal year, and 268 investigations were set for hearings. Hearings give both injured workers and insurers a chance to present arguments for why benefits should or should not be granted. Insurance companies will be represented by professionals at these hearings, and it is important that injured workers have a legal representative advocating for them as well.
- 1,220 investigations were closed during the fiscal year, leaving 461 investigations active. When an appeal to the S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission is necessary after a denial of benefits, it can take months to resolve, so whenever possible, it is best to make sure applications for workers’ comp benefits are complete and supported by comprehensive medical information.
Contact a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
The S.C. workplace injury attorneys at Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., are dedicated to providing professional and ethical service to clients with workers’ compensation claims. Our South Carolina law firm will provide sensitive representation as you recuperate from your injuries.