Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in South Carolina

Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim in South Carolina

What steps do you need to take to receive compensation following a work-related injury?

Many people don't realize that employers and not injured employees file workers' compensation claims in South Carolina. Nevertheless, there are some things that injured employees must do to ensure their claims aren't rejected. 
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Filing a workers' compensation claim might sound simple in theory. After all, your employer does most of the work... right? Nevertheless, in practice, there are some easily-overlooked steps that you must take to avoid having your claim rejected.

In this article, we'll take a close look at what steps you need to take following a work-related injury in South Carolina.

Step 1: Get emergency medical treatment

If you're seriously injured in a work-related accident, the first and most important step is to seek emergency medical care.

In South Carolina, your employer has the right to select the doctor who will treat you if you receive workers' compensation benefits. If you receive treatment from an unapproved doctor, the treatment may not be covered. However, there's an exception for emergency medical treatment.

The bottom line:

Get emergency medical treatment if necessary.

Enjuris tip: If you don't like the doctor your employer chooses, you can ask your employer's workers' compensation insurer for permission to change doctors. If the insurer refuses, you can request a hearing to have the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission decide the issue by submitting a Form 50.

Step 2: Report your injuries to your employer

Providing written notification to your employer is one of the most important parts of the workers' compensation claim process.

You must report your work-related injuries to your employer within 90 days of the accident. If you fail to do so, you may not receive benefits.

There are 2 main exceptions to the notification requirement. You don't need to report your work-related injuries to your employer if:

  1. Your employer already knows about the accident and injuries, or
  2. You're physically or mentally incapable of reporting your injuries.
Enjuris tip: Although you have 90 days to report your injuries, it's a good idea to notify your employer in writing as soon as possible. What's more, it's a good idea to provide written notification even if you think your employer already knows about your injuries. Providing written notification will help protect your rights in the event that your employer later claims that they had no knowledge of your injuries.

Step 3: Make sure your employer files the proper form with the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission

In South Carolina, you're not responsible for filing your workers' compensation claim. Rather, your employer is legally obligated to file your claim with the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission once you report your injuries.

If your employer refuses or otherwise fails to file your claim, you can file your own claim by submitting Form 50 (if you're injured) or Form 52 (if a family member is killed) to the Workers' Compensation Commission.

Enjuris tip: Form 50 and Form 52 include instructions for how to file the form. Additionally, you can contact the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission's claims department at 803-737-5723 with any questions.

Step 4: Request a hearing if necessary

If your workers' compensation claim is denied, you have the right to request a hearing before the Workers' Compensation Commission. To do so, complete and submit Form 50. When filling out the form, be sure to check box 13b (which states “I am requesting a hearing”). A $50 fee is required.

If your #workerscomp claim is denied in South Carolina, you have the right to request a hearing by submitting Form 50. Tweet this

Your employer has the right to file an answer on Form 51, in which they will admit or deny what you said in Form 50. Your case will then be assigned to a commissioner who will hear your case in 3-5 months.

At the hearing, you and your employer have the opportunity to present your respective cases.

Do I need to hire an attorney for my workers' compensation hearing?

You're not required to be represented by an attorney at your workers' compensation hearing. However, understand that your employer will almost certainly be represented by an attorney. What's more, a workers' compensation attorney can help you gather and present evidence, including testimony from doctors and witnesses.

Keep in mind that, although workers' compensation is an exclusive remedy (meaning you can't file a claim and sue your employer), there may be situations when you can file a third-party personal injury lawsuit. An attorney will be able to review your case and tell you whether there are any other legal remedies you should be pursuing.

Once the commissioner has ruled on your case, they will issue an “Opinion and Award,” which explains their decision and what relief, if any, you may receive.

Step 5: Request an appeal if necessary

If you're unhappy with the decision made by the Workers' Compensation Commission, you can appeal the decision to the circuit court and then, if necessary, to the South Carolina Supreme Court.

An appeal must be filed within 14 days from the date you receive the “Opinion and Award.”

Want to discuss your workers' compensation claim with an experienced workers' compensation attorney? Use our free online directory. Most initial consultations are free.


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