Imagine a warehouse worker who is injured while attempting to move a heavy box with a coworker. His coworker accidentally drops his end of the box, causing our worker to injure his back. According to both North Carolina and South Carolina state law, this is an accident “arising out of and in the course of employment.” Our injured worker is an employee, not an independent contractor. He immediately notifies his supervisor. Whether in NC or SC, the employer should admit the claim and authorize medical treatment. Assuming his claim is accepted, what kind of compensation can the injured worker expect for his injury?
Unlike an auto accident claim, there is no compensation for pain and suffering. If a claim is accepted, the employer must provide medical treatment and pay weekly compensation checks called temporary total disability (TTD) payments if necessary.
How much are those payments? The law provides a formula: TTD is 66 ⅔ % of your Average Weekly Wage limited to the Maximum comp rate in SC for South Carolina Claims and NC for North Carolina Claims.
Unfortunately, things get complicated quickly. If, for example, our warehouse worker permanently injured his back, he is entitled to additional compensation. However, establishing the severity or permanence of the injury can be very difficult. Unfortunately, in some cases the doctor will say whatever the insurance adjuster or rehab nurse wants them to say. Some doctors will even ignore obvious surgical cases and release the claimant back to work instead of recommending treatment or surgery.
Another complication has to do with the compensation rate itself. Employers often complete the average weekly wage form to their own advantage. If you didn’t work for that employer a full year prior to the injury, there are four potential methods to calculate your compensation rate. Even a small increase in your compensation rate can increase your settlement or award greatly.
This is where having a strong attorney who will fight for your rights is critical. Knowing which doctors to consult for a second opinion evaluation and which doctors are in the pocket of the insurance industry is key to getting a fair settlement. Richard Smith has devoted over twenty-five years to personal injury and workers’ compensation cases in both South Carolina and North Carolina. There is no legal fee unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day and can meet with you at your home, hospital or at any one of our three offices. Contact us for a free consultation!
Disclaimer: Principle office is located at 1210 Laurens Rd, Greenville, SC 29607. No fee unless the case is settled or won, costs may be excluded.