What is workers’ compensation insurance in South Carolina?

I own a small business in South Carolina. I currently have no employees, but my business is growing and I’m thinking of hiring several full-time workers. What is workers’ compensation insurance? Is workers’ compensation insurance required in South Carolina? What does it cover?

Answer:

Thousands of workplace injuries occur in South Carolina each year. Most injuries are minor, like sprained ankles from trip and fall injuries. But serious injuries like lost limbs and even deaths related to industrial accidents can also happen. 

South Carolina workers’ compensation insurance is an affordable way to protect your business and your employees from the costs of work-related injuries and illnesses. It provides benefits to injured workers regardless of who is at fault, and it provides death benefits for a worker’s dependents if he or she is killed as a result of a workplace incident. 

How does workers’ compensation insurance help injured employees in South Carolina? 

A: Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to help injured workers pay for the costs of medical care and lost wages if they are injured on the job. That means they will be covered for accidents and injuries related to their work, including repetitive stress injuries, injuries caused by working with equipment, exposure to toxic materials, trip and fall injuries, and more. 

Injured workers will be compensated for medical care and missed wages related to their injury. They’ll even be compensated for funeral costs if there’s a fatality. 

Is workers’ compensation insurance required in South Carolina? 

A: South Carolina requires any employer who regularly employs four or more full-time or part-time workers to have workers’ compensation insurance. 

South Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws define employees as full-time and part-time workers (adults and minors) hired to do certain jobs under the control of the employer. Unpaid volunteers are not covered under South Carolina workers’ compensation. Organizations that use volunteers can obtain other types of insurance to protect them. 

Are any professions exempt from the South Carolina workers’ compensation requirement?

A: Certain agricultural employees, railroad and railway employees, commission paid real estate agents, and other specified businesses are exempt from the South Carolina workers’ compensation rule. Other exemptions include:

  • Casual employees who don’t work regular hours
  • Employers with less than $3,000 in annual payroll in the previous year
  • People who sell agricultural products.

How are sole proprietors and partnerships treated under the South Carolina workers’ compensation law? 

A: Sole proprietors or partners are considered owners of the business and are not automatically covered by South Carolina workers’ compensation, but they can elect to be covered. When a sole proprietor or partnership incorporates, these individuals are then considered to be employees of the company and are automatically covered. 

What does workers’ compensation insurance cover in South Carolina?

A: South Carolina offers no-fault workers’ compensation insurance. This means that it is the only remedy for injured workers, regardless of who is at fault. It pays for a portion of an injured worker’s lost wages, as well as medical care related to the workplace injury or illness. It also compensates employees who suffer permanent disability or disfigurement. 

What benefits are paid to injured workers in South Carolina? 

A: Benefits may include compensation for ongoing necessary medical treatment, payment of lost wages due to time away from work, compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement, and vocational rehabilitation. 

Wage replacement benefits are dependent on the extent and duration of the disability. They are based on 66 2/3 percent of the employee’s average weekly wages, subject to the state-imposed limit. 

Vocational rehabilitation is available for injured workers who cannot return to their previous job due to a work-related disability. 

Eligible dependents of a deceased employee may receive weekly compensation based on the employee’s average weekly wage, as well as funeral expense benefits. In general, eligible dependents will receive 66 2/3 percent of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage for a period of 500 weeks from the date of the injury in addition to burial expenses of up to  $2,500.

Article Reviewed by | Paul Martin

https://wcc.sc.gov

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